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LENIN 



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WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! 



LENIN 

COLLECTED WORKS 

24 



THE RUSSIAN EDITION WAS PRINTED 
IN ACCORDANCE WITH A DECISION 
OF THE NINTH CONGRESS OF THE R.C.P.(B.) 
AND THE SECOND CONGRESS OF SOVIETS 
OF THE U.S.S.R. 



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B. M. JI E H M H 

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IIOJIHTHHECKOH JIHTEPATYPBI 
M O C K B A 



V. I. L E N I N 



COLLECTED WORKS 



VOLUME 
24 

April -June 1917 



PROGRESS PUBLISHERS 
MOSCOW 



TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN 
EDITED BY BERNARD ISAACS 



From Marx to Mao 




© Digital Reprints 
2011 

www.marx2mao.com 



First printing 1964 
Second printing 1974 



10102-036 1fi4 _ 7 . 
014(01)-74 



7 



CONTENTS 

Preface 17 

April-June 1917 

THE TASKS OF THE PROLETARIAT IN THE PRESENT REVO- 
LUTION 19 

Theses 21 

HOW WE ARRIVED 27 

TWO WORLDS 30 

NOTES FOR AN ARTICLE OR SPEECH IN DEFENCE OF THE 

APRIL THESES 32 

BLANCISM 34 

THE DUAL POWER 38 

LETTERS ON TACTICS 42 

Foreword 42 

First Letter. Assessment of the Present Situation. ... 43 

THE TASKS OF THE PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION. 

Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party 55 

The Class Character of the Revolution That Has Taken 

Place 57 

The Foreign Policy of the New Government 58 

The Peculiar Nature of the Dual Power and Its Class 

Significance 60 

The Peculiar Nature of the Tactics Which Follow from 

the Above 62 



8 CONTENTS 

Revolutionary Defencism and Its Class Significance ... 64 

How Can the War Be Ended? 66 

A New Type of State Emerging from Our Revolution . . 67 

The Agrarian and National Programmes 71 

Nationalisation of the Banks and Capitalist Syndicates 73 

The Situation Within the Socialist International .... 74 
The Collapse of the Zimmerwald International. — The 

Need for Founding a Third International 80 

What Should Be the Name of Our Party— One That Will 
Be Correct Scientifically and Help to Clarify the Mind of 

the Proletariat Politically? 84 

Postscript . TT 1 -{~\ A A • A- li- A TD-^V" 89 

POLITICAL PARTIES IN RUSSIA AND THE TASKS OF THE 

PROLETARIAT .... -rp^x • A- /!• A (~\ 93 

Preface to the Second Edition 95 

SPEECH DELIVERED AT A MEETING OF SOLDIERS OF THE 

IZMAILOVSKY REGIMENT. APRIL 10 (23), 1917 107 

A SHAMELESS LIE OF THE CAPITALISTS 110 

THE WAR AND THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 112 

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF RUSSKAYA VOLYA 115 

A PARTNERSHIP OF LIES > V/ X . V \J i\. 118 

BANKS AND MIM^TfiifSv A /T \ /f E7 O T A ■ T 122 

AN IMPORTANT EXPOSURE 123 

TO THE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS. •^•TJTIO^N 124 

AGAINST THE RIOT-MONGERS. To the Workers, Soldiers, and 

the Whole Population of Petrograd 127 

CITIZENS! SEE WHAT METHODS THE CAPITALISTS OF ALL 

COUNTRIES ARE USING! 131 

A "VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT" BETWEEN LANDOWNERS AND 

PEASANTS? 134 

AN HONEST VOICE IN A CHORUS OF SLANDERERS 135 

THE SOLDIERS AND THE LAND 137 

THE PETROGRAD CITY CONFERENCE OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 

(BOLSHEVIKS), April 14-22 (April 27-May 5), 1917 139 



CONTENTS 



9 



1. REPORT ON THE PRESENT SITUATION AND THE ATTITUDE 
TOWARDS THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT. APRIL 14 (27) 141 

2. CONCLUDING REMARKS IN THE DEBATE CONCERNING 
THE REPORT ON THE PRESENT SITUATION. APRIL 14 (27) 148 

3. TWO REMARKS DURING THE DEBATE ON THE 
RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE 



PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT. APRIL 15 (28) 152 

4. RESOLUTION ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PROVI- 
SIONAL GOVERNMENT 154 

5. TWO REMARKS DURING THE DEBATE ON THE QUESTION 

OF THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. APRIL 22 (MAY 5) . . . . 156 

6. RESOLUTION ON THE MUNICIPAL QUESTION 158 

7. DRAFT RESOLUTION ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE 
PARTIES OF THE SOCIALIST-REVOLUTIONARIES. THE 
MENSHEVIK SOCIAL DEMOCRATS, THE "NON-FACTIONAL" SO- 
CIAL-DEMOCRATS AND OTHER KINDRED POLITICAL TRENDS 159 

8. DRAFT RESOLUTION ON THE WAR 161 

I 161 

II 162 

III 163 

CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 167 

ON THE RETURN OF THE EMIGRANTS 171 

OUR VIEWS. A Reply to the Resolution of the Executive Com- 
mission of the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies 172 

HOW THEY TIED THEMSELVES TO THE CAPITALISTS 176 

A PROLETARIAN MILITIA 179 

BANKRUPTCY? 183 

RESOLUTION OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 
(BOLSHEVIKS) OF APRIL 20 (MAY 3), 1917 ON THE CRISIS 
CAUSED BY THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT'S NOTE OF 
APRIL 18 (MAY 1), 1917 184 

APPEAL TO THE SOLDIERS OF ALL THE BELLIGERENT 
COUNTRIES 186 

THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT'S NOTE 189 

A BASIC QUESTION A Line of Argument Used by Socialists Who 
Have Gone Over to the Bourgeoisie 192 



10 CONTENTS 

ICONS VERSUS CANNONS, PHRASES VERSUS CAPITAL 196 

THE LOGIC OF CITIZEN V. CHERNOV 198 

MR. PLEKHANOV'S FUTILE ATTEMPTS TO EXTRICATE HIMSELF 199 

RESOLUTION OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 
(BOLSHEVIKS) ADOPTED APRIL 21 (MAY 4), 1917 201 

HONEST DEFENCISM REVEALS ITSELF 204 

MAD CAPITALISTS OR WEAK-MINDED SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS? ... 207 

THE ADVICE OR ORDER OF SHINGARYOV, AND THE ADVICE 

OF A LOCAL SOVIET 209 

RESOLUTION OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 
(BOLSHEVIKS) ADOPTED IN THE MORNING OF APRIL 22 
(MAY 5), 1917 210 

LESSONS OF THE CRISIS 213 

HOW A SIMPLE QUESTION CAN BE CONFUSED 217 

"DISGRACE" AS THE CAPITALISTS AND THE PROLETARIANS 
UNDERSTAND IT 220 

INTERVIEW GIVEN TO E. TORNTAINEN. APRIL 28 (MAY 6), 1917 222 

FOOLISH GLOATING 223 

THE SEVENTH (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE OF THE 
R.S.D.L.P.(B.). April 24-29 (May 7-12), 1917 225 

1. SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE OPENING OF THE CONFER- 
ENCE. APRIL 24 (MAY 7) 227 

2. REPORT ON THE CURRENT SITUATION. APRIL 24 (MAY 7) 228 

3. SPEECH WINDING UP THE DEBATE ON THE REPORT ON 

THE CURRENT SITUATION. APRIL 24 (MAY 7) 244 

4. SPEECH ON THE PROPOSAL TO CALL AN INTERNATIONAL 
SOCIALIST CONFERENCE. APRIL 25 (MAY 8) 247 

5. RESOLUTION ON BORGBJERG'S PROPOSAL 251 

6. SPEECH ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SOVIETS. 
APRIL 26 (MAY 8). Brief Press Report 254 

7. DRAFT THESES TO THE RESOLUTION ON THE SOVIETS 255 

8. SPEECH IN FAVOUR OF THE RESOLUTION ON THE WAR. 
APRIL 27 (MAY 10) 257 



CONTENTS 11 

9. RESOLUTION ON THE WAR 270 

I 270 

II 271 

III 272 

10. RESOLUTION ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PROVI- 
SIONAL GOVERNMENT 274 

11. REPORT ON THE QUESTION OF REVISING THE PARTY 
PROGRAMME. APRIL 28 (MAY 11) 277 

12. RESOLUTION ON THE QUESTION OF REVISING THE PARTY 
PROGRAMME 280 

13. REPORT ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION. APRIL 28 (MAY 11) 282 

14. REJOINDER TO N. S. ANGARSKY DURING THE DEBATE 

ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION. APRIL 28 (MAY 11) 288 

15. RESOLUTION ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION 290 

16. RESOLUTION ON UNITING THE INTERNATIONALISTS 
AGAINST THE PETTY-BOURGEOIS DEFENCIST BLOC .... 294 

17. RESOLUTION ON THE SOVIETS OF WORKERS' AND SOL- 
DIERS' DEPUTIES 295 

18. SPEECH ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION. APRIL 29 (MAY 12) 297 

19. RESOLUTION ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION 302 

20. SPEECH ON THE SITUATION WITHIN THE INTERNA- 
TIONAL AND THE TASKS OF THE R.S.D.L.P.(B.). APRIL 29 
(MAY 12) 304 

21. SPEECH IN FAVOUR OF THE RESOLUTION ON THE 
CURRENT SITUATION. APRIL 29 (MAY 12) 305 

22. RESOLUTION ON THE CURRENT SITUATION 309 

23. CONCLUDING SPEECH AT THE CLOSING OF THE CONFER- 
ENCE. APRIL 29 (MAY 12) 313 

INTRODUCTION TO THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE SEVENTH 
(APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE OF THE R.S.D.L.P.(B.) .... 314 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FRATERNISATION 318 

WHAT THE COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY STEPS OF THE PROVI- 
SIONAL GOVERNMENT LEAD TO 321 

SOCIAL-CHAUVINISTS AND INTERNATIONALISTS 324 



12 CONTENTS 

I. G. TSERETELI AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE 326 

ANXIETY 330 

THE "CRISIS OF POWER" 332 

FINLAND AND RUSSIA 335 

A LETTER TO THE EDITORS 339 

DEFENCE OF IMPERIALISM CLOAKED WITH SPECIOUS PHRASES 340 

AN UNFORTUNATE DOCUMENT 343 

FRIGHTENING THE PEOPLE WITH BOURGEOIS TERRORS .... 346 

ON THE EVE 349 

THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THE MAIN THING. The Municipal 

Platform of the Proletarian Party 350 

MANDATE TO DEPUTIES OF THE SOVIET ELECTED AT FACTO- 
RIES AND REGIMENTS 354 

CLASS COLLABORATION WITH CAPITAL, OR CLASS STRUGGLE 

AGAINST CAPITAL? 357 

A STRONG REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT 360 

TITBITS FOR THE NEWBORN GOVERNMENT 362 

ALREADY THE NEW GOVERNMENT IS LAGGING BEHIND 
EVEN THE PEASANT MASS, LEAVE ALONE THE REVO- 
LUTIONARY WORKERS 365 

STEALING A MARCH ON THE WORKERS 367 

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DELEGATES TO THE ALL-RUSSIA 

CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 370 

THE "VIRTUAL ARMISTICE" 375 

SECRETS OF FOREIGN POLICY 378 

ONE OF THE SECRET TREATIES 380 

MINISTERIAL TONE 382 

IN SEARCH OF A NAPOLEON 383 

NOTHING HAS CHANGED 384 



CONTENTS 13 

A REGRETTABLE DEVIATION FROM THE PRINCIPLES OF 

DEMOCRACY 385 

ON THE QUESTION OF CONVENING AN INTERNATIONAL, SO- 
CALLED SOCIALIST CONFERENCE JOINTLY WITH THE SOCIAL- 
CHAUVINISTS 388 

SPEECH AT A MEETING AT THE PUTILOV WORKS. MAY 12 (25) 

1917. Brief Newspaper Report 389 

THE PROLETARIAN PARTY AT THE DISTRICT COUNCIL ELEC- 
TIONS 390 

STATEMENTS ABOUT THE WAR MADE BY OUR PARTY BEFORE 

THE REVOLUTION 393 

IMPENDING DEBACLE 395 

WAR AND REVOLUTION. A Lecture Delivered May 14 (27), 1917 398 

DESPICABLE METHODS 422 

INEVITABLE CATASTROPHE AND EXTRAVAGANT PROMISES 424 

(Article One) 424 

(Article Two) 427 

THE QUESTION OF UNITING THE INTERNATIONALISTS 431 

MUDDLEHEADEDNESS. More on the Subject of Annexations 433 

COMBATING ECONOMIC CHAOS BY A SPATE OF COMMISSIONS 436 

ONE MORE DEPARTURE FROM DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES .... 437 

HOW THE CAPITALISTS ARE TRYING TO SCARE THE PEOPLE 439 

ONE MORE CRIME OF THE CAPITALISTS 441 

STILL MORE LIES 443 

LETTER TO THE EDITORS 444 

HAS DUAL POWER DISAPPEARED? 445 

ON THE UNAUTHORISED SEIZURE OF LAND. Flimsy Argu- 
ments of the Socialist-Revolutionaries 449 

MATERIALS RELATING TO THE REVISION OF THE PARTY 

PROGRAMME 455 

1. PREFACE TO THE PAMPHLET MATERIALS RELATING TO 

THE REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 457 



14 



CONTENTS 



2. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE DOCTRINAL, POLITICAL 
AND OTHER SECTIONS OF THE PROGRAMME 459 

3. COMMENTS ON THE REMARKS MADE BY THE COMMITTEE 

OF THE APRIL ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 464 

4. DRAFT OF REVISED PROGRAMME 466 

FIRST ALL-RUSSIA CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES, May 
4-28 (May 17- June 10), 1917 481 

1. DRAFT RESOLUTION ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION .... 483 

2. SPEECH ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION. MAY 22 (JUNE 4), 

1917 486 

PARTIES IN THE PETROGRAD DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTIONS 506 
TWO SHORTCOMINGS 512 

RESOLUTION ON MEASURES TO COPE WITH ECONOMIC DISOR- 
GANISATION 513 

A DEAL WITH THE CAPITALISTS OR OVERTHROW OF THE 
CAPITALISTS? How to End the War 516 

THE CHAIN IS NO STRONGER THAN ITS WEAKEST LINK ... 519 

THE CAPITALISTS MUST BE EXPOSED 521 

REPORTS ON THE ECONOMIC DEBACLE 523 

"SLEIGHT OF HAND" AND UNPRINCIPLED POLITICIANS .... 527 

THE DARK FORCES ARE FOR THE CADETS, THE MENSHEVIKS 
AND NARODNIKS ARE IN ONE GOVERNMENT WITH THE CADETS 529 

THE SHAMEFUL MENSHEVIK-NARODNIK BLOC WITH YEDIN- 
STVO 531 

COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKES THE OFFENSIVE. "Jacobins 
Without the People" 533 

A QUESTION OF PRINCIPLE. "Forgotten Words" of Democracy 536 

FOR LACK OF A CLEAN PRINCIPLED WEAPON THEY SNATCH 

AT A DIRTY ONE 539 

MEETING OF THE PETROGRAD COMMITTEE OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 
(BOLSHEVIKS). May 30 (June 12), 1917 541 

1. SPEECH CONCERNING AN ORGAN OF THE PRESS FOR THE 

PETROGRAD COMMITTEE 543 



CONTENTS 



15 



2. DRAFT RESOLUTIONS INTRODUCED AT THE MEETING OF 

THE PETROGRAD COMMITTEE 545 

THE HARM OF PHRASE-MONGERING 546 

CAPITALIST MOCKERY OF THE PEOPLE 549 

LETTER TO THE DISTRICT COMMITTEES OF THE PETROGRAD 

ORGANISATION OF THE R.S.D.L.P. (BOLSHEVIKS) 552 

SPEECH MADE AT THE FIRST PETROGRAD CONFERENCE OF 
SHOP COMMITTEES. MAY 31 (JUNE 13), 1917. Brief Newspaper 

Report 556 

INFAMY JUSTIFIED 558 

THE PETTY-BOURGEOIS STAND ON THE QUESTION OF ECO- 
NOMIC DISORGANISATION 562 

A MOTE IN THE EYE 565 

IT IS UNDEMOCRATIC, CITIZEN KERENSKY 568 

BOLSHEVISM AND "DEMORALISATION" OF THE ARMY 570 

THE LAUGH IS ON YOU! 573 

Notes 575 

The Life and Work of V. I. Lenin. Outstanding Dates .... 609 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

The cover of Lenin's pamphlet The Tasks of the Proletariat in 



Our Revolution. 1917 66-67 

The first page of Lenin's manuscript "Draft Resolution on the 
Agrarian Question". May 1917 482-483 

The front page of Pravda No. 64, for June 6 (May 24), 1917 
featuring Lenin's article "Parties in the Petrograd District 
Council Elections" 507 



17 



PREFACE 

Volume 24 contains the works of Lenin written be- 
tween April 3 and June 3, 1917. 

It includes the famous April Theses, in which Lenin 
gave the Party and the proletariat a concrete, theoretically 
elaborated plan of struggle for transition from the bourgeois- 
democratic to the socialist revolution, and put forward 
the slogan of setting up a republic of the Soviets as the best 
political form of proletarian dictatorship. 

The ideas set forth in the April Theses are elaborated in 
the articles: "Letters on Tactics", "The Tasks of the Prole- 
tariat in Our Revolution" and "Political Parties in Russia 
and the Tasks of the Proletariat". 

The materials of the Petrograd City and Seventh (April) 
All-Russia conferences of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) contain 
Lenin's speeches and resolutions on all the cardinal issues 
affecting the war and the revolution — the current situation, 
the war, the attitude towards the Provisional Government, 
the Soviets and the agrarian and national questions. 

Lenin's articles and paragraphs in Pravda ("The Dual 
Power", "The War and the Provisional Government", "The 
Significance of Fraternisation", "Frightening the People 
with Bourgeois Terrors", "On the 'Unauthorised Seizure' of 
Land", and others) aim at bringing home to the masses the 
significance of the momentous events in the country's polit- 
ical life and the class struggle, at rallying the masses behind 
the Bolshevik Party and preparing them for the socialist 
revolution. 

The volume contains material concerning the revision 
of the Party Programme, in which Lenin elaborated the 
basic principles of the Party's new programme. 



18 



PREFACE 



Nineteen documents never before included in the Collected 
Works of Lenin have been given in this volume. The bulk of 
these documents consists of materials of the Seventh (April) 
All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), namely: 
nine resolutions (on the war, on the attitude towards the 
Provisional Government, on the agrarian question, on 
the revision of the Party Programme, on the Soviets, on the 
national question, on the current situation, on the question 
of Borgbjerg's proposal, on uniting the internationalists 
against the petty-bourgeois defencist bloc), and "Introduc- 
tion to the Resolutions of the Seventh (April) All-Russia 
Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.)". 

The materials of the Petrograd City Conference of the 
R.S.D.L.P.(B.) published in previous collections of Lenin's 
works have been supplemented by "A Draft Resolution 
on the Attitude Towards the Parties of the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries, the Menshevik Social-Democrats, the 'Non-Fac- 
tional' Social-Democrats and Other Kindred Political 
Trends". 

The "Notes for an Article or Speech in Defence of the April 
Theses" is another document belonging to the series of articles 
in which the ideas of the April Theses are expounded and 
elaborated. 

The leaflet "Appeal to the Soldiers of All the Belligerent 
Countries" and the "Speech at a Meeting at the Putilov 
Works. May 12 (25), 1917" deal with the causes and aims of 
the continuing imperialist war and set forth the Bolsheviks' 
views on the revolutionary ways and means of stopping it. 

The "Resolution of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. 
(Bolsheviks) of April 20 (May 3), 1917 on the Crisis 
Caused by the Provisional Government's Note of April 18 
(May 1), 1917" exposes the imperialist nature of the policy 
pursued by the Provisional Government. 

The volume also includes "A Letter to the Editors" and 
three articles published in Pravda: "Still More Lies", "The 
Chain Is No Stronger Than Its Weakest Link", "The Laugh 
Is on You!" in which Lenin exposes the Mensheviks and 
Socialist-Revolutionaries as hirelings of imperialism. 



THE TASKS OF THE PROLETARIAT 
IN THE PRESENT REVOLUTION 1 



Published April 7, 1917 
in Pravda No. 26, 
Signed: N. Lenin 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



21 



I did not arrive in Petrograd until the night of April 3, 
and therefore at the meeting on April 4 I could, of course, 
deliver the report on the tasks of the revolutionary prole- 
tariat only on my own behalf, and with reservations as to 
insufficient preparation. 

The only thing I could do to make things easier for my- 
self — and for honest opponents — was to prepare the theses in 
writing. I read them out, and gave the text to Comrade 
Tsereteli. I read them twice very slowly: first at a meeting 
of Bolsheviks and then at a meeting of both Bolsheviks and 
Mensheviks. 

I publish these personal theses of mine with only the 
briefest explanatory notes, which were developed in far 
greater detail in the report. 

THESES 

1) In our attitude towards the war, which under the new 
government of Lvov and Co. unquestionably remains on 
Russia's part a predatory imperialist war owing to the capi- 
talist nature of that government, not the slightest concession 
to "revolutionary defencism" is permissible. 

The class-conscious proletariat can give its consent to 
a revolutionary war, which would really justify revolutionary 
defencism, only on condition: (a) that the power pass to the 
proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants aligned 
with the proletariat; (b) that all annexations be renounced 
in deed and not in word; (c) that a complete break be effected 
in actual fact with all capitalist interests. 

In view of the undoubted honesty of those broad sections 
of the mass believers in revolutionary defencism who ac- 
cept the war only as a necessity, and not as a means of con- 



22 



V. I. LENIN 



quest, in view of the fact that they are being deceived by the 
bourgeoisie, it is necessary with particular thoroughness, 
persistence and patience to explain their error to them, to 
explain the inseparable connection existing between capital 
and the imperialist war, and to prove that without over- 
throwing capital it is impossible to end the war by a truly 
democratic peace, a peace not imposed by violence. 

The most widespread campaign for this view must be 
organised in the army at the front. 

Fraternisation. 

2) The specific feature of the present situation in Russia 
is that the country is passing from the first stage of the 
revolution — which, owing to the insufficient class-conscious- 
ness and organisation of the proletariat, placed power in the 
hands of the bourgeoisie — to its second stage, which must 
place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest 
sections of the peasants. 

This transition is characterised, on the one hand, by a 
maximum of legally recognised rights (Russia is now the 
freest of all the belligerent countries in the world); on the 
other, by the absence of violence towards the masses, and, 
finally, by their unreasoning trust in the government of 
capitalists, those worst enemies of peace and socialism. 

This peculiar situation demands of us an ability to adapt 
ourselves to the special conditions of Party work among 
unprecedentedly large masses of proletarians who have 
just awakened to political life. 

3) No support for the Provisional Government; the utter 
falsity of all its promises should be made clear, particularly 
of those relating to the renunciation of annexations. Exposure 
in place of the impermissible, illusion-breeding "demand" 
that this government, a government of capitalists, should 
cease to be an imperialist government. 

4) Recognition of the fact that in most of the Soviets 
of Workers' Deputies our Party is in a minority, so far 
a small minority, as against a bloc of all the petty-bour- 
geois opportunist elements, from the Popular Socialists 
and the Socialist-Revolutionaries down to the Organising 
Committee 2 (Chkheidze, Tsereteli, etc.), Steklov, etc., etc., 
who have yielded to the influence of the bourgeoisie and 
spread that influence among the proletariat. 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN PRESENT REVOLUTION 



23 



The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of Work- 
ers' Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary 
government, and that therefore our task is, as long as this 
government yields to the influence of the bourgeoisie, to 
present a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation 
of the errors of their tactics, an explanation especially adapt- 
ed to the practical needs of the masses. 

As long as we are in the minority we carry on the work 
of criticising and exposing errors and at the same time we 
preach the necessity of transferring the entire state power 
to the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, so that the people may 
overcome their mistakes by experience. 

5) Not a parliamentary republic — to return to a parlia- 
mentary republic from the Soviets of Workers' Deputies 
would be a retrograde step — but a republic of Soviets of 
Workers', Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' Deputies 
throughout the country, from top to bottom. 

Abolition of the police, the army and the bureau- 
cracy.* 

The salaries of all officials, all of whom are elective and 
displaceable at any time, not to exceed the average wage 
of a competent worker. 

6) The weight of emphasis in the agrarian programme to 
be shifted to the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' Depu- 
ties. 

Confiscation of all landed estates. 

Nationalisation of all lands in the country, the land to be 
disposed of by the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' and 
Peasants' Deputies. The organisation of separate Soviets 
of Deputies of Poor Peasants. The setting up of a model farm 
on each of the large estates (ranging in size from 100 to 300 
dessiatines, according to local and other conditions, and to the 
decisions of the local bodies) under the control of the Soviets 
of Agricultural Labourers' Deputies and for the public 
account. 

7) The immediate amalgamation of all banks in the country 
into a single national bank, and the institution of control 
over it by the Soviet of Workers' Deputies. 



*I.e., the standing army to be replaced by the arming of the whole 
people. 



24 



V. I. LENIN 



8) It is not our immediate task to "introduce" socialism, 
but only to bring social production and the distribution of 
products at once under the control of the Soviets of Work- 
ers' Deputies. 

9) Party tasks: 

(a) Immediate convocation of a Party congress; 

(b) Alteration of the Party Programme, mainly: 

(1) On the question of imperialism and the impe- 
rialist war; 

(2) On our attitude towards the state and our demand 
for a "commune state"*; 

(3) Amendment of our out-of-date minimum pro- 
gramme; 

(c) Change of the Party's name.** 

10) A new International. 

We must take the initiative in creating a revolutionary 
International, an International against the social-chauvin- 
ists and against the "Centre".*** 

In order that the reader may understand why I had espe- 
cially to emphasise as a rare exception the "case" of honest 
opponents, I invite him to compare the above theses with 
the following objection by Mr. Goldenberg: Lenin, he said, 
"has planted the banner of civil war in the midst of revolu- 
tionary democracy" (quoted in No. 5 of Mr. Plekhanov's 
Yedinstzo 3 ). 

Isn't it a gem? 

I write, announce and elaborately explain: "In view of 
the undoubted honesty of those broad sections of the mass 
believers in revolutionary defencism ... in view of the fact 
that they are being deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is neces- 
sary with particular thoroughness, persistence and patience 
to explain their error to them...." 

* I.e., a state of which the Paris Commune was the prototype. 
** Instead of "Social-Democracy", whose official leaders throughout 
the world have betrayed socialism and deserted to the bourgeoisie (the 
"defencists" and the vacillating "Kautskyites"), we must call ourselves 
the Communist Party. 

***The "Centre" in the international Social-Democratic move- 
ment is the trend which vacillates between the chauvinists (= "defen- 
cists") and internationalists, i.e., Kautsky and Co. in Germany, 
Longuet and Co. in France, Chkheidze and Co. in Russia, Turati and 
Co. in Italy, MacDonald and Co. in Britain, etc. 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN PRESENT REVOLUTION 



25 



Yet the bourgeois gentlemen who call themselves Social- 
Democrats, who do not belong either to the broad sections 
or to the mass believers in defencism, with serene brow pre- 
sent my views thus: "The banner [!]* of civil war" (of which 
there is not a word in the theses and not a word in my 
speech!) has been planted (!) "in the midst [!!] of revolution- 
ary democracy...". 

What does this mean? In what way does this differ from 
riot-inciting agitation, from Russkaya Volya 4 ? 

I write, announce and elaborately explain: "The Soviets 
of Workers' Deputies are the only possible form of revolu- 
tionary government, and therefore our task is to present 
a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation of the er- 
rors of their tactics, an explanation especially adapted to 
the practical needs of the masses." 

Yet opponents of a certain brand present my views as a 
call to "civil war in the midst of revolutionary democracy! 

I attacked the Provisional Government for not having 
appointed an early date, or any date at all, for the con- 
vocation of the Constituent Assembly, and for confining 
itself to promises. I argued that without the Soviets of Work- 
ers' and Soldiers' Deputies the convocation of the Constitu- 
ent Assembly is not guaranteed and its success is impos- 
sible. 

And the view is attributed to me that I am opposed to 
the speedy convocation of the Constituent Assembly! 

I would call this "raving", had not decades of political 
struggle taught me to regard honesty in opponents as a rare 
exception. 

Mr. Plekhanov in his paper called my speech "raving". 
Very good, Mr. Plekhanov! But look how awkward, uncouth, 
and slow-witted you are in your polemics. If I delivered 
a raving speech for two hours, how is it that an audience of 
hundreds tolerated this "raving"? Further, why does your 
paper devote a whole column to an account of the "raving"? 
Inconsistent, highly inconsistent! 



* Interpolations in square brackets (within passages quoted by 
Lenin) have been introduced by Lenin, unless otherwise indicated. — 
Ed. 



26 



V. I. LENIN 



It is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl 
than to attempt to relate, to explain, to recall what Marx 
and Engels said in 1871, 1872 and 1875 about the experience 
of the Paris Commune 5 and about the kind of state the pro- 
letariat needs. 

Ex-Marxist Mr. Plekhanov evidently does not care to 
recall Marxism. 

I quoted the words of Rosa Luxemburg, who on August 4, 
1914, 6 called German Social-Democracy a "stinking corpse". 
And the Plekhanovs, Goldenbergs and Co. feel "offended". 
On whose behalf? On behalf of the German chauvinists, be- 
cause they were called chauvinists! 

They have got themselves in a mess, these poor Russian 
social-chauvinists — socialists in word and chauvinists in 
deed. 



27 



HOW WE ARRIVED 7 

The news that the British and French governments have 
refused to grant the emigrant internationalists passage 
to Russia has already made its way into the socialist 
press. 

The thirty-two political emigrants of various party af- 
filiations (among them 19 Bolsheviks, 6 Bundists, 8 3 adher- 
ents of the Paris internationalist paper Nashe Slovo 9 ) who 
have arrived here consider it their duty to make known the 
following: 

We are in possession of a number of documents which 
we shall publish as soon as we receive them from Stockholm 
(we left them behind because the Swedish-Russian border is 
under the full control of agents of the British Government), 
and which will give everyone a clear picture of the deplor- 
able role the above-named "Allied" governments are play- 
ing in this connection. On this point we shall add only the 
following: The Zurich Emigrants' Repatriation Committee, 
which consists of representatives of twenty-three groups 
(including the Central Committee, the Organising Committee, 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the Bund), unanimous- 
ly passed a resolution stating publicly that the British 
Government decided to prevent the emigrant interna- 
tionalists from returning to their native land and taking 
part in the struggle against the imperialist war. 

From the first days of the revolution this intention on the 
part of the British Government had become quite clear to 
the emigrants. At a conference of representatives of the 
Socialist-Revolutionary Party (M. A. Natanson), the Organis- 
ing Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. (L. Martov), and the 
Bund (Kosovsky), a plan was conceived (it was proposed 



28 



V. I. LENIN 



by L. Martov) to obtain for these emigrants passage through 
Germany in exchange for German and Austrian prisoners 
interned in Russia. 

A number of telegrams to this effect were sent to Russia, 
while steps were taken through the Swiss socialists to get 
this plan put through. 

The telegrams sent to Russia were held up, apparently 
by our Provisional "Revolutionary Government" (or its 
supporters). 

After waiting two weeks for an answer from Russia, we 
decided to carry out the above-mentioned plan by ourselves 
(other emigrants decided to wait a little longer, being still 
unconvinced that the Provisional Government would do 
nothing to ensure the passage of all emigrants). 

The whole business was handled by Fritz Platten, a Swiss 
internationalist socialist. He concluded a carefully worded 
agreement with the German Ambassador in Switzerland. 
The text of this agreement will be published later. Its main 
points are: (1) All emigrants, regardless of their opinions 
on the war, shall be allowed passage. (2) The railway coach 
in which the emigrants will travel shall have the privileges 
of extraterritoriality; no one shall have the right to enter 
the coach without Platten's permission; there shall be no 
control either of passports or luggage. (3) The travellers 
agree to agitate in Russia that the emigrants who have been 
granted passage be exchanged for a corresponding number of 
Austro-German internees. 

All attempts on the part of the German Social-Democratic 
majority to communicate with the travellers were firmly 
repelled by the latter. The coach was accompanied by Plat- 
ten all the way. He had decided to travel with us to 
Petrograd but he has been detained at the Russian border 
(Tornio) — let us hope, only temporarily. All negotiations 
were conducted with the participation of and in complete 
accord with a number of foreign internationalist socialists. 
The protocol of the journey was signed by two French 
socialists, Loriot and Guilbeaux, and by a socialist from the 
Liebknecht group (Hartstein), by the Swiss socialist Plat- 
ten, the Polish Social-Democrat Brohski, the Swedish 
Social-Democrat deputies Lindhagen, Carleson, Strom, Ture 
Nerman and others. 



HOW WE ARRIVED 



29 



"Were Karl Liebknecht in Russia now, the Milyukovs 
would readily let him out to go to Germany; the Bethmann- 
Hollwegs let you Russian internationalists out to go to 
Russia. Your business is to go to Russia and fight there 
against both German and Russian imperialism." That is what 
these internationalist comrades told us. We think they were 
right. We shall make a report of our journey to the Executive 
Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 
We hope that the latter will obtain the release of a corre- 
sponding number of internees, first and foremost the promi- 
nent Austrian socialist, Otto Bauer, and that it will obtain 
a permit for all emigrants, not only the social-patriots, to 
return to Russia. We hope that the Executive Committee 
will put an end also to the unheard-of state of affairs, where 
no newspapers left of Rech 10 are allowed to be sent out of the 
country, and even the Manifesto of the Soviet of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies 11 to the workers of the world is not 
allowed to get into the foreign press. 

Written April 4 (17), 1917 

Published April 5, 1917 Published according 

in the newspapers Pravda to the text in Pravda verified 

No. 24, and Izvestia No. 32 with that in Izvestia 



30 



TWO WORLDS 

Capitalist newspapers like Rech and Novoye Vremya 12 
have published articles attacking our passage through Ger- 
many and insinuating that the new arrivals were aiding 
the German imperialists.* 

Izvestia of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Depu- 
ties 13 reprints in full the report published in yesterday's 
Pravda** 14 which was presented to the Executive Commit- 
tee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies on the 
very first day after our arrival. In addition to the report, 
Izvestia publishes the resolution of the Executive Commit- 
tee, which it gives in the following words: 

"Having heard the report of Comrades Zurabov and Zinoviev, the 
Executive Committee decided to take the matter up immediately 
with the Provisional Government and to take steps towards securing 
the immediate return to Russia of all emigrants, irrespective of their 
political views and their attitude towards the war. The results of the 
negotiations with the government will be published in the near fu- 
ture. — Editors." 

Here you have a small — a very small, but very character- 
istic — picture of two worlds. One, the world of the capital- 
ists, Rech, Russkaya Volya, Novoye Vremya, dark hints, vile 
insinuations against the socialists; the other, the world 
of the revolutionary democrats, of the workers' and soldiers' 
deputies, who in a calm, consistent, and dignified manner 
have decided to "take steps". Steps leading to what? Steps 
leading to what was not done by the Provisional Government! 

* The famous — notoriously famous — Russkaya Volya in its arti- 
cle against us provides "incriminating" material quite in the vein of 
Rech. Won't Milyukov and Co. be ashamed of such a neighbour? 
**Will Rech dare to publish it? 



TWO WORLDS 



31 



Is this not tantamount to a censure of the Provisional 
Government? 

And is not this censure warranted? 

Mind you, the Executive Committee, in passing this re- 
solution was fully aware of the political dissensions that 
existed between it and the Bolsheviks. For capitalists this 
would be a pretext for insinuations. Human dignity is some- 
thing one need not look for in the world of capitalists. 



Pravda No. 25, April 6, 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



32 



NOTES FOR AN ARTICLE OR SPEECH 
IN DEFENCE OF THE APRIL THESES 

(1) Economic debacle is imminent. Therefore removal of 
the bourgeoisie is a mistake. 

(This is the conclusion of the bourgeoisie. The more im- 
minent the debacle, the more essential is it that the bour- 
geoisie be removed.) 

(2) Proletariat is unorganised, weak, lacking class-con- 
sciousness. 

(True. Therefore, the whole task is to fight those petty- 
bourgeois leaders, the so-called Social-Democrats — Chkheid- 
ze, Tsereteli, Steklov — who lull the masses, encourage them 
to put their trust in the bourgeoisie. 

Not unity with these petty bourgeois — Chkheidze, Steklov, 
Tsereteli — but utter defeat of these Social-Democrats, who 
are ruining the revolution of the proletariat.) 

(3) Revolution is bourgeois at the present stage. Therefore 
no need for "socialist experiment". 

(This argument is an out-and-out bourgeois argument. 
No one talks about a "socialist experiment" The concrete 
Marxist proposition requires that institutions now as well 
as classes be taken into account.) 

Stranglers of the revolution, by honeyed phrases — Chkheid- 
ze, Tsereteli, Steklov — are dragging the revolution back, 
away from the Soviets of Workers' Deputies towards the 
undivided sway of the bourgeoisie, towards the usual bour- 
geois parliamentary republic. 

We must ably, carefully, clear people's minds and lead 
the proletariat and poor peasantry forward, away from 
"dual power" towards the full power of the Soviets of 



NOTES IN DEFENCE OF APRIL THESES 



33 



Workers' Deputies, and this is the commune in Marx's sense, 
in the sense of the experience of 1871. 

The question is not how fast to move, but where to move. 

The question is not whether the workers are prepared, 
but how and for what they should be prepared. 

Since the manifestos and appeals of the Soviet of Work- 
ers' Deputies on the war, etc., are sheer petty-bourgeois 
humbug designed merely to lull the people to sleep, it is our 
business above all, as I have said, to clear people's minds, 
to rid the masses of the bourgeois influence of Chkheidze, 
Steklov, Tsereteli and Co. 

The "revolutionary defencism" of the Soviet of Workers' 
Deputies, i.e., of Chkheidze, Tsereteli and Steklov, is a 
chauvinist trend a hundred times more harmful for being 
cloaked in honeyed phrases, an attempt to reconcile the masses 
with the Provisional Revolutionary Government. 

The dull, unenlightened masses duped by Chkheidze, 
Tsereteli, Steklov and Co. do not realise that the war is a 
continuation of policy, that wars are waged by governments. 

It must be made clear that the "people" can stop the war 
or change its character only by changing the class charac- 
ter of the government. 

Written between April 4 
and 12 (17 and 25), 1917 

First published on January 21, Published according 

1933 in Pravda No. 21 to the manuscript 



34 



BLANCISM 

Louis Blanc, the French socialist, won unenviable noto- 
riety during the revolution of 1848 by changing his stand 
from that of the class struggle to that of petty-bourgeois 
illusions, illusions adorned with would-be "socialist" phra- 
seology, but in reality tending to strengthen the influence 
of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat. Louis Blanc looked 
to the bourgeoisie for assistance, hoped, and inspired hopes 
in others, that the bourgeoisie could help the workers in the 
matter of "labour organisation" — this vague term purport- 
ing to express "socialist" tendencies. 

Blancism has now gained the upper hand in Right-wing 
"Social-Democracy", in the Organising Committee party in 
Russia. Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Steklov, and many others, 
who are now leaders of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies and were also leaders of the recent 
All-Russia Conference of Soviets, 15 have taken the same 
stand as Louis Blanc. 

On all major issues of present-day political life these 
leaders, who occupy approximately the position of the 
international Centrist trend represented by Kautsky, Lon- 
guet, Turati, and many others, have embraced the petty- 
bourgeois views of Louis Blanc. Take, for instance, the ques- 
tion of war. 

The proletarian standpoint in this matter consists of a 
definite class characterisation of war, and of an irreconcil- 
able hostility to imperialist war — that is, to a war between 
groups of capitalist countries {no matter whether monarchies 
or republics) for a division of capitalist spoils. 

The petty-bourgeois viewpoint differs from the bourgeois 
one (outright justification of the war, outright "defence of 



BLANCISM 



35 



the fatherland", i.e., defence of the interests of one's own 
capitalists, defence of their "right" to annexations) in that 
the petty bourgeois "renounces" annexations, "condemns" 
imperialism, "demands" from the bourgeoisie that it cease 
to be imperialistic while keeping within the framework of 
world-imperialist relations and the capitalist system of 
economy. Confining himself to this mild, innocuous, wishy- 
washy declamation, the petty bourgeois, in practice, trails 
helplessly behind the bourgeoisie, "sympathising" in some 
things with the proletariat in words, remaining dependent 
on the bourgeoisie in deeds, unable or unwilling to understand 
the path leading to the overthrow of the capitalist yoke, the 
only path that can rid the world of imperialism. 

To "demand" of the bourgeois governments that they make 
a "solemn declaration' in the spirit of renouncing annexa- 
tions is the height of audacity on the part of the petty bour- 
geois, and an example of anti-imperialist "Zimmerwaldist" 
consistency. It is not difficult to see that this is Blancism of 
the worst type. For one thing, no bourgeois politician with 
any experience will ever have difficulty in mouthing any 
number of glib, "brilliant", high-sounding phrases against 
annexations "in general", as meaningless as they are non- 
committal. But when it comes to deeds, one can always do a 
conjuring trick after the manner of Rech, which had the de- 
plorable courage to declare that Kurland 16 (now annexed by 
the imperialist predators of bourgeois Germany) was not 
annexed by Russia! 

This is trickery of the most disgusting kind, the most 
shameless deception of the workers by the bourgeoisie, for 
anybody the least familiar with politics must know that 
Kurland had always been annexed to Russia. 

We openly and directly challenge Rech: (1) to present to the 
people such a political definition of the concept "annexation" 
as would apply equally to all annexations in the world, 
German, British, and Russian, past and present, to all with- 
out exception; (2) to state clearly and definitely what, in 
its opinion, is meant by renunciation of annexations, not in 
word, but in deed. To give such a political definition of the 
concept "renunciation of annexations in deed" as would 
apply not only to the Germans, but also to the English and 
all other nations who have ever practised annexations. 



36 



V. I. LENIN 



We maintain that Rech will either decline to accept our 
challenge or it will be exposed by us before the whole 
nation. And it is precisely because of this question of Kur- 
land touched upon by Rech that our dispute is not a theo- 
retical one but a practical one of the greatest urgency and 
vital interest. 

Second, let us assume, if only for a moment, that the 
bourgeois ministers are the ideal of honesty, that the Guch- 
kovs, Lvovs, Milyukovs and Co. sincerely believe in the pos- 
sibility of renouncing annexations, while preserving cap- 
italism, and that they really want to renounce them. 

Let us, for a moment, assume even this, let us make this 
Blancist assumption. 

One is entitled to ask: Can a grown-up person be content 
with what people think of themselves, without comparing 
it with what they do? Is it possible for a Marxist not to dis- 
tinguish good wishes and declarations from objective re- 
alities? 

No. It is not. 

Annexations are maintained by the bonds of finance 
capital, banking capital, imperialist capital. Herein is the 
modern, the economic foundation of annexations. From this 
angle, annexations are politically guaranteed profits on 
thousands of millions of capital "invested" in thousands 
upon thousands of enterprises in the annexed countries. 

It is impossible, even given the wish to do so, to renounce 
annexations without taking decisive steps towards throwing 
off the yoke of capitalism. 

Does that mean, as Yedinstvo, Rabochaya Gazeta, 11 and 
the other "Louis Blancs" of our petty bourgeoisie are 
ready to conclude and actually do conclude, that we 
must not take any decisive steps towards overthrowing 
capitalism, that we must accept at least a modicum of 
annexations? 

No. Decisive steps must be taken towards the overthrow 
of capitalism. They must be taken ably and gradually, rely- 
ing only on the class-consciousness and organised activity 
of the overwhelming majority of the workers and poor 
peasants. But taken they must be. The Soviets of Workers' 
Deputies have already started to take them in a number of 
places in Russia. 



BLANCISM 



37 



The order of the day now is a decisive and irrevocable 
parting of the ways with the Louis Blancs — the Chkheidzes, 
Tseretelis, Steklovs, the party of the O.C., the Party of 
Socialist-Revolutionaries, etc., etc. The masses must be 
made to see that Blancism is ruining and will utterly ruin 
the further success of the revolution, even the success of 
freedom, unless the masses realise how harmful these petty- 
bourgeois illusions are and join the class-conscious work- 
ers in their cautious, gradual, well-considered, yet firm and 
direct steps towards socialism. 

Outside of socialism there is no deliverance of humanity 
from wars, from hunger, from the destruction of still more 
millions and millions of human beings. 



Pravda No. 27, April 8, 1917 
Signed: N. Lenin 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



38 



THE DUAL POWER 

The basic question of every revolution is that of state 
power. Unless this question is understood, there can be no 
intelligent participation in the revolution, not to speak of 
guidance of the revolution. 

The highly remarkable feature of our revolution is that 
it has brought about a dual power. This fact must be grasped 
first and foremost: unless it is understood, we cannot advance. 
We must know how to supplement and amend old "formulas", 
for example, those of Bolshevism, for while they have been 
found to be correct on the whole, their concrete realisation 
has turned out to be different. Nobody previously thought, 
or could have thought, of a dual power. 

What is this dual power? Alongside the Provisional 
Government, the government of the bourgeoisie, another 
government has arisen, so far weak and incipient; but un- 
doubtedly a government that actually exists and is 
growing — the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 

What is the class composition of this other government? 
It consists of the proletariat and the peasants (in soldiers' 
uniforms). What is the political nature of this government? 
It is a revolutionary dictatorship, i.e., a power directly 
based on revolutionary seizure, on the direct initiative of 
the people from below, and not on a law enacted by a cen- 
tralised state power. It is an entirely different kind of power 
from the one that generally exists in the parliamentary 
bourgeois-democratic republics of the usual type still pre- 
vailing in the advanced countries of Europe and America. 
This circumstance is often overlooked, often not given 
enough thought, yet it is the crux of the matter. This power 
is of the same type as the Paris Commune of 1871. The funda- 



THE DUAL POWER 



39 



mental characteristics of this type are: (1) the source of 
power is not a law previously discussed and enacted by par- 
liament, but the direct initiative of the people from below, 
in their local areas — direct "seizure", to use a current ex- 
pression; (2) the replacement of the police and the army, 
which are institutions divorced from the people and set 
against the people, by the direct arming of the whole people; 
order in the state under such a power is maintained by the 
armed workers and peasants themselves, by the armed people 
themselves; (3) officialdom, the bureaucracy, are either 
similarly replaced by the direct rule of the people themselves 
or at least placed under special control; they not only 
become elected officials, but are also subject to recall at the 
people's first demand; they are reduced to the position of 
simple agents; from a privileged group holding "jobs" remu- 
nerated on a high, bourgeois scale, they become workers 
of a special "arm of the service", whose remuneration does 
not exceed the ordinary pay of a competent worker. 

This, and this alone, constitutes the essence of the Paris 
Commune as a special type of state. This essence has been 
forgotten or perverted by the Plekhanovs (downright chau- 
vinists who have betrayed Marxism), the Kautskys (the 
men of the "Centre", i.e., those who vacillate between chau- 
vinism and Marxism), and generally by all those Social- 
Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries, etc., etc., who now 
rule the roost. 

They are trying to get away with empty phrases, evasions, 
subterfuges; they congratulate each other a thousand times 
upon the revolution, but refuse to consider what the Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies are. They refuse to 
recognise the obvious truth that inasmuch as these Soviets 
exist, inasmuch as they are a power, we have in Russia a 
state of the type of the Paris Commune. 

I have emphasised the words "inasmuch as", for it is only 
an incipient power. By direct agreement with the bourgeois 
Provisional Government and by a series of actual conces- 
sions, it has itself surrendered and is surrendering its posi- 
tions to the bourgeoisie. 

Why? Is it because Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Steklov and Co. 
are making a "mistake"? Nonsense. Only a philistine can 
think so — not a Marxist. The reason is insufficient class- 



40 



V. I. LENIN 



consciousness and organisation of the proletarians and 
peasants. The "mistake" of the leaders I have named lies in 
their petty-bourgeois position, in the fact that instead of 
clarifying the minds of the workers, they are befogging them; 
instead of dispelling petty-bourgeois illusions, they are 
instilling them; instead of freeing the people from bourge- 
ois influence, they are strengthening that influence. 

It should be clear from this why our comrades, too, make 
so many mistakes when putting the question "simply": Should 
the Provisional Government be overthrown immediately? 

My answer is: (1) it should be overthrown, for it is an 
oligarchic, bourgeois, and not a people's government, and 
is unable to provide peace, bread, or full freedom; (2) it 
cannot be overthrown just now, for it is being kept in 
power by a direct and indirect, a formal and actual agreement 
with the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, and primarily with 
the chief Soviet, the Petrograd Soviet; (3) generally, it can- 
not be "overthrown" in the ordinary way, for it rests on the 
"support" given to the bourgeoisie by the second govern- 
ment — the Soviet of Workers' Deputies, and that government 
is the only possible revolutionary government, which 
directly expresses the mind and will of the majority of the 
workers and peasants. Humanity has not yet evolved and 
we do not as yet know a type of government superior to and 
better than the Soviets of Workers', Agricultural Labour- 
ers', Peasants', and Soldiers' Deputies. 

To become a power the class-conscious workers must win 
the majority to their side. As long as no violence is used 
against the people there is no other road to power. We are 
not Blancists, we do not stand for the seizure of power by 
a minority. We are Marxists, we stand for proletarian class 
struggle against petty-bourgeois intoxication, against chau- 
vinism-defencism, phrase-mongering and dependence on the 
bourgeoisie. 

Let us create a proletarian Communist Party; its ele- 
ments have already been created by the best adherents of 
Bolshevism; let us rally our ranks for proletarian class work; 
and larger and larger numbers from among the proletarians, 
from among the poorest peasants will range themselves on 
our side. For actual experience will from day to day shatter 
the petty-bourgeois illusions of those "Social-Democrats", 



THE DUAL POWER 



41 



the Chkheidzes, Tseretelis, Steklovs and others, the "Socialist- 
Revolutionaries", the petty bourgeois of an even purer 
water, and so on and so forth. 

The bourgeoisie stands for the undivided power of the 
bourgeoisie. 

The class-conscious workers stand for the undivided 
power of the Soviets of Workers', Agricultural Labourers', 
Peasants', and Soldiers' Deputies — for undivided power 
made possible not by adventurist acts, but by clarifying 
proletarian minds, by emancipating them from the influence 
of the bourgeoisie. 

The petty bourgeoisie — "Social-Democrats", Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, etc., etc. — vacillate and, thereby, hinder 
this clarification and emancipation. 

This is the actual, the class alignment of forces that deter- 
mines our tasks. 

Pravda No. 28, April 9, 1917 Published according 



Signed: N. Lenin 




42 



LETTERS ON TACTICS 18 

FOREWORD 

On April 4, 1917, I had occasion to make a report on the 
subject indicated in the title, first, at a meeting of Bolshe- 
viks in Petrograd. These were delegates to the All-Russia 
Conference of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, 
who had lo leave for their homes and therefore could not 
allow me to postpone it. After the meeting, the chairman, 
Comrade G. Zinoviev, asked me on behalf of the whole 
assembly to repeat my report immediately at a joint meet- 
ing of Bolshevik and Menshevik delegates, who wished to 
discuss the question of unifying the Russian Social- 
Democratic Labour Party. 

Difficult though it was for me immediately to repeat 
my report I felt that I had no right to refuse once this 
was demanded of me by my comrades-in-ideas as well as by 
the Mensheviks, who, because of their impending departure, 
really could not grant me a delay. 

In making my report, I read the theses which were pub- 
lished in No. 26 of Pravda, on April 7, 1917.* 

Both the theses and my report gave rise to differences 
of opinion among the Bolsheviks themselves and the editors 
of Pravda. After a number of consultations, we unanimously 
concluded that it would be advisable openly to discuss our 
differences, and thus provide material for the All-Russia 
Conference of our Party (the Russian Social-Democratic 



* I reprint these theses together with the brief comment from the 
same issue of Pravda as an appendix to this letter. (See pp. 21-24 of 
this volume. — Ed.) 



LETTERS ON TACTICS 



43 



Labour Party, united under the Central Committee) which 
is to meet in Petrograd on April 20, 1917. 

Complying with this decision concerning a discussion, 
I am publishing the following letters in which I do not claim 
to have made an exhaustive study of the question, but wish 
merely to outline the principal arguments, which are espe- 
cially essential for the practical tasks of the working-class 
movement. 



FIRST LETTER 
ASSESSMENT OF THE PRESENT SITUATION 

Marxism requires of us a strictly exact and objectively 
verifiable analysis of the relations of classes and of the 
concrete features peculiar to each historical situation. We 
Bolsheviks have always tried to meet this requirement, 
which is absolutely essential for giving a scientific foundation 
to policy. 

"Our theory is not a dogma, but a guide to action," 19 
Marx and Engels always said, rightly ridiculing the mere 
memorising and repetition of "formulas", that at best are 
capable only of marking out general tasks, which are neces- 
sarily modifiable by the concrete economic and political 
conditions of each particular period of the historical process. 

What, then, are the clearly established objective facts 
which the party of the revolutionary proletariat must now be 
guided by in defining the tasks and forms of its activity? 

Both in my first Letter from Afar ("The First Stage of 
the First Revolution") published in Pravda Nos. 14 and 15, 
March 21 and 22, 1917, and in my theses, I define "the spe- 
cific feature of the present situation in Russia" as a period 
of transition from the first stage of the revolution to the 
second. I therefore considered the basic slogan, the "task 
of the day" at this moment to be: "Workers, you have per- 
formed miracles of proletarian heroism, the heroism of the 
people, in the civil war against tsarism. You must perform 
miracles of organisation, organisation of the proletariat 
and of the whole people, to prepare the way for your 



44 



V. I. LENIN 



victory in the second stage of the revolution" (Pravda 
No. 15).* 

What, then, is the first stage? 

It is the passing of state power to the bourgeoisie. 

Before the February-March revolution of 1917, state 
power in Russia was in the hands of one old class, namely, 
the feudal landed nobility, headed by Nicholas Romanov. 

After the revolution, the power is in the hands of a differ- 
ent class, a new class, namely, the bourgeoisie. 

The passing of state power from one class to another is 
the first, the principal, the basic sign of a revolution, both 
in the strictly scientific and in the practical political 
meaning of that term. 

To this extent, the bourgeois, or the bourgeois-democratic, 
revolution in Russia is completed. 

But at this point we hear a clamour of protest from people 
who readily call themselves "old Bolsheviks". Didn't we 
always maintain, they say, that the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution is completed only by the "revolutionary-democratic 
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry"? Is the 
agrarian revolution, which is also a bourgeois-democratic 
revolution, completed? Is it not a fact, on the contrary, 
that it has not even started? 

My answer is: The Bolshevik slogans and ideas on the 
whole have been confirmed by history; but concretely things 
have worked out differently; they are more original, more 
peculiar, more variegated than anyone could have 
expected. 

To ignore or overlook this fact would mean taking after 
those "old Bolsheviks" who more than once already have 
played so regrettable a role in the history of our Party by 
reiterating formulas senselessly learned by rote instead of 
studying the specific features of the new and living reality. 

"The revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the prole- 
tariat and the peasantry" has already become a reality** in 
the Russian revolution, for this "formula" envisages only a 
relation of classes, and not a concrete political institution 
implementing this relation, this co-operation. "The Soviet 



*See present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 306-07.— Ed. 
* In a certain form and to a certain extent. 



LETTERS ON TACTICS 



45 



of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies" — there you have the 
"revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat 
and the peasantry" already accomplished in reality. 

This formula is already antiquated. Events have moved 
it from the realm of formulas into the realm of reality, 
clothed it with flesh and bone, concretised it and thereby 
modified it. 

A new and different task now faces us: to effect a split 
within this dictatorship between the proletarian elements 
(the anti-defencist, internationalist, "Communist" elements, 
who stand for a transition to the commune) and the small- 
proprietor or petty-bourgeois elements (Chkheidze, Tsere- 
teli, Steklov, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the other 
revolutionary defencists, who are opposed to moving 
towards the commune and are in favour of "supporting" the 
bourgeoisie and the bourgeois government). 

The person who now speaks only of a "revolutionary- 
democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry" 
is behind the times, consequently, he has in effect gone 
over to the petty bourgeoisie against the proletarian class 
struggle; that person should be consigned to the archive 
of "Bolshevik" pre-revolutionary antiques (it may be called 
the archive of "old Bolsheviks"). 

The revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the prole- 
tariat and the peasantry has already been realised, but in 
a highly original manner, and with a number of extremely 
important modifications. I shall deal with them separately 
in one of my next letters. For the present, it is essential 
to grasp the incontestable truth that a Marxist must take 
cognisance of real life, of the true facts of reality, and not 
cling to a theory of yesterday, which, like all theories, at 
best only outlines the main and the general, only comes 
near to embracing life in all its complexity. 

"Theory, my friend, is grey, but green is the eternal tree 
of life." 20 

To deal with the question of "completion" of the bourgeois 
revolution in the old way is to sacrifice living Marxism 
to the dead letter. 

According to the old way of thinking, the rule of the bour- 
geoisie could and should be followed by the rule of the pro- 
letariat and the peasantry, by their dictatorship. 



46 



V. I. LENIN 



In real life, however, things have already turned out 
differently; there has been an extremely original, novel and 
unprecedented interlacing of the one with the other. We have 
side by side, existing together, simultaneously, both the 
rule of the bourgeoisie (the government of Lvov and Guch- 
kov) and a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the 
proletariat and the peasantry, which is voluntarily ceding 
power to the bourgeoisie, voluntarily making itself an 
appendage of the bourgeoisie. 

For it must not be forgotten that actually, in Petrograd, 
the power is in the hands of the workers and soldiers; the 
new government is not using and cannot use violence against 
them, because there is no police, no army standing apart 
from the people, no officialdom standing all-powerful above 
the people. This is a fact, the kind of fact that is character- 
istic of a state of the Paris Commune type. This fact does 
not fit into the old schemes. One must know how to adapt 
schemes to facts, instead of reiterating the now meaning- 
less words about a "dictatorship of the proletariat and the 
peasantry" in general. 

To throw more light on this question let us approach it 
from another angle. 

A Marxist must not abandon the ground of careful 
analysis of class relations. The bourgeoisie is in power. But is 
not the mass of the peasants also a bourgeoisie, only of a 
different social stratum, of a different kind, of a different 
character? Whence does it follow that this stratum cannot 
come to power, thus "completing" the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution? Why should this be impossible? 

This is how the old Bolsheviks often argue. 

My reply is that it is quite possible. But, in assessing a 
given situation, a Marxist must proceed not from what is 
possible, but from what is real. 

And the reality reveals the fact that freely elected sol- 
diers' and peasants' deputies are freely joining the second, 
parallel government, and are freely supplementing, develop- 
ing and completing it. And, just as freely, they are sur- 
rendering power to the bourgeoisie — a fact which does 
not in the least "contravene" the theory of Marxism, for we 
have always known and repeatedly pointed out that the 
bourgeoisie maintains itself in power not only by force but 



LETTERS ON TACTICS 



47 



also by virtue of the lack of class-consciousness and 
organisation, the routinism and downtrodden state of the 
masses. 

In view of this present-day reality, it is simply ridiculous 
to turn one's back on the fact and talk about "possibilities". 

Possibly the peasantry may seize all the land and all 
the power. Far from forgetting this possibility, far from 
confining myself to the present, I definitely and clearly 
formulate the agrarian programme, taking into account the 
new phenomenon, i.e., the deeper cleavage between the agri- 
cultural labourers and the poor peasants on the one hand, 
and the peasant proprietors on the other. 

But there is also another possibility; it is possible that the 
peasants will take the advice of the petty-bourgeois party 
of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, which has yielded to the 
influence of the bourgeoisie, has adopted a defencist stand, 
and which advises waiting for the Constituent Assembly, 
although not even the date of its convocation has yet been 
fixed.* 

It is possible that the peasants will maintain and prolong 
their deal with the bourgeoisie, a deal which they have now 
concluded through the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies not only in form, but in fact. 

Many things are possible. It would be a great mistake to 
forget the agrarian movement and the agrarian programme. 
But it would be no less a mistake to forget the reality, which 
reveals the fact that an agreement, or — to use a more exact, 
less legal, but more class-economic term — class collabora- 
tion exists between the bourgeoisie and the peasantry. 

When this fact ceases to be a fact, when the peasantry 
separates from the bourgeoisie, seizes the land and power 
despite the bourgeoisie, that will be a new stage in the bour- 
geois-democratic revolution; and that matter will be dealt 
with separately. 

* Lest my words be misinterpreted, I shall say at once that I am 
positively in favour of the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers and Peas- 
ants immediately taking over all the land, but they should themselves 
observe the strictest order and discipline, not permit the slightest dam- 
age to machines, structures, or livestock, and in no case disorganise 
agriculture and grain production, but rather develop them, for the 
soldiers need twice as much bread, and the people must not be 
allowed to starve. 



48 



V. I. LENIN 



A Marxist who, in view of the possibility of such a future 
stage, were to forget his duties in the present, when the 
peasantry is in agreement with the bourgeoisie, would turn 
petty bourgeois. For he would in practice be preaching to 
the proletariat confidence in the petty bourgeoisie ("this 
petty bourgeoisie, this peasantry, must separate from the 
bourgeoisie while the bourgeois-democratic revolution is 
still on"). Because of the "possibility" of so pleasing and 
sweet a future, in which the peasantry would not be the 
tail of the bourgeoisie, in which the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries, the Chkheidzes, Tseretelis, and Steklovs would not 
be an appendage of the bourgeois government — because of 
the "possibility" of so pleasing a future, he would be forget- 
ting the unpleasant present, in which the peasantry still 
forms the tail of the bourgeoisie, and in which the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and Social-Democrats have not yet given 
up their role as an appendage of the bourgeois government, 
as "His Majesty" Lvov's Opposition. 21 

This hypothetical person would resemble a sweetish 
Louis Blanc, or a sugary Kautskyite, but certainly not a 
revolutionary Marxist. 

But are we not in danger of falling into subjectivism, of 
wanting to arrive at the socialist revolution by "skipping" 
the bourgeois-democratic revolution — which is not yet com- 
pleted and has not yet exhausted the peasant movement? 

I might be incurring this danger if I said: "No Tsar, but 
a workers' government." 22 But I did not say that, I said 
something else. I said that there can be no government (bar- 
ring a bourgeois government) in Russia other than that of 
the Soviets of Workers', Agricultural Labourers', Soldiers', 
and Peasants' Deputies. I said that power in Russia now can 
pass from Guchkov and Lvov only to these Soviets. And in 
these Soviets, as it happens, it is the peasants, the soldiers, 
i.e., petty bourgeoisie, who preponderate, to use a scientific, 
Marxist term, a class characterisation, and not a com- 
mon, man-in-the-street, professional characterisation. 

In my theses, I absolutely ensured myself against skip- 
ping over the peasant movement, which has not outlived 
itself, or the petty-bourgeois movement in general, against 
any playing at "seizure of power" by a workers' government, 
against any kind of Blanquist adventurism; for I pointedly 



LETTERS ON TACTICS 



49 



referred to the experience of the Paris Commune. And this 
experience, as we know, and as Marx proved at length in 
1871 and Engels in 1891, 23 absolutely excludes Blanquism, 
absolutely ensures the direct, immediate and unquestionable 
rule of the majority and the activity of the masses only to 
the extent that the majority itself acts consciously. 

In the theses, I very definitely reduced the question to 
one of a struggle for influence within the Soviets of Workers', 
Agricultural Labourers', Peasants', and Soldiers' Deputies. 
To leave no shadow of doubt on this score, I twice emphasised 
in the theses the need for patient and persistent "explana- 
tory" work "adapted to the practical needs of the masses". 

Ignorant persons or renegades from Marxism, like Mr. 
Plekhanov, may shout about anarchism, Blanquism, and 
so forth. But those who want to think and learn cannot fail 
to understand that Blanquism means the seizure of power 
by a minority, whereas the Soviets are admittedly the direct 
and immediate organisation of the majority of the people. 
Work confined to a struggle for influence within these So- 
viets cannot, simply cannot, stray into the swamp of Blan- 
quism. Nor can it stray into the swamp of anarchism, for 
anarchism denies the need for a state and state power in the 
period of transition from the rule of the bourgeoisie to the 
rule of the proletariat, whereas I, with a precision that pre- 
cludes any possibility of misinterpretation, advocate the need 
for a state in this period, although, in accordance with Marx 
and the lessons of the Paris Commune, I advocate not the 
usual parliamentary bourgeois state, but a state without 
a standing army, without a police opposed to the people, 
without an officialdom placed above the people. 

When Mr. Plekhanov, in his newspaper Yedinstvo, shouts 
with all his might that this is anarchism, he is merely giving 
further proof of his break with Marxism. Challenged by me 
in Pravda (No. 26) to tell us what Marx and Engels taught 
on the subject in 1871, 1872 and 1875,* Mr. Plekhanov can 
only preserve silence on the question at issue and shout out 
abuse after the manner of the enraged bourgeoisie. 

Mr. Plekhanov, the ex-Marxist, has absolutely failed to 
understand the Marxist doctrine of the state. Incidentally, 



See p. 26 of this volume. — Ed. 



50 



V. I. LENIN 



the germs of this lack of understanding are also to be found 
in his German pamphlet on anarchism. 24 

* * 
* 

Now let us see how Comrade Y. Kamenev, in Pravda No. 
27, formulates his "disagreements" with my theses and with 
the views expressed above. This will help us to grasp them 
more clearly. 

"As for Comrade Lenin's general scheme," writes Comrade Kame- 
nev, "it appears to us unacceptable, inasmuch as it proceeds from the 
assumption that the bourgeois-democratic revolution is completed, 
and builds on the immediate transformation of this revolution into a 
socialist revolution." 

There are two big mistakes here. 

First. The question of "completion" of the bourgeois- 
democratic revolution is stated wrongly. The question is 
put in an abstract, simple, so to speak one-colour, way, 
which does not correspond to the objective reality. To put 
the question this way, to ask now "whether the bourgeois- 
democratic revolution is completed" and say no more, is to 
prevent oneself from seeing the exceedingly complex reality, 
which is at least two-coloured. This is in theory. In practice, 
it means surrendering helplessly to petty-bourgeois revolu- 
tionism. 

Indeed, reality shows us both the passing of power into 
the hands of the bourgeoisie (a "completed" bourgeois- 
democratic revolution of the usual type) and, side by side 
with the real government, the existence of a parallel govern- 
ment which represents the "revolutionary-democratic dicta- 
torship of the proletariat and the peasantry". This "second- 
government" has itself ceded the power to the bourgeoisie, 
has chained itself to the bourgeois government. 

Is this reality covered by Comrade Kamenev's old- 
Bolshevik formula, which says that "the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution is not completed"? 

It is not. The formula is obsolete. It is no good at all. 
It is dead. And it is no use trying to revive it. 

Second. A practical question. Who knows whether it is 
still possible at present for a special "revolutionary-democratic 
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry", de- 



LETTERS ON TACTICS 



51 



tached from the bourgeois government, to emerge in Russia? 
Marxist tactics cannot be based on the unknown. 

But if this is still possible, then there is one, and only 
one, way towards it, namely, an immediate, resolute, and 
irrevocable separation of the proletarian Communist ele- 
ments from the petty-bourgeois elements. 

Why? 

Because the entire petty bourgeoisie has, not by chance 
but of necessity, turned towards chauvinism (= defencism), 
towards "support" of the bourgeoisie, towards dependence 
on it, towards the fear of having to do without it, etc., etc. 

How can the petty bourgeoisie be "pushed" into power, 
if even now it can take the power, but does not want to? 

This can be done only by separating the proletarian, the 
Communist, party, by waging a proletarian class struggle 
free from the timidity of those petty bourgeois. Only the 
consolidation of the proletarians who are free from 
the influence of the petty bourgeoisie in deed and not only 
in word can make the ground so hot under the feet of the 
petty bourgeoisie that it will be obliged under certain cir- 
cumstances to take the power; it is even within the bounds 
of possibility that Guchkov and Milyukov — again under 
certain circumstances — will be for giving full and sole power 
to Chkheidze, Tsereteli, the S.R.s, and Steklov, since, after 
all, these are "defencists". 

To separate the proletarian elements of the Soviets (i.e., 
the proletarian, Communist, party) from the petty-bour- 
geois elements right now, immediately and irrevocably, 
is to give correct expression to the interests of the movement 
in either of two possible events: in the event that Russia 
will yet experience a special "dictatorship of the proletariat 
and the peasantry" independent of the bourgeoisie, and in the 
event that the petty bourgeoisie will not be able to tear 
itself away from the bourgeoisie and will oscillate eternally 
(that is, until socialism is established) between us and it. 

To be guided in one's activities merely by the simple 
formula, "the bourgeois-democratic revolution is not com- 
pleted", is like taking it upon oneself to guarantee that the 
petty bourgeoisie is definitely capable of being independent 
of the bourgeoisie. To do so is to throw oneself at the given 
moment on the mercy of the petty bourgeoisie. 



52 



V. I. LENIN 



Incidentally, in connection with the "formula" of the 
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, it is 
worth mentioning that, in Two Tactics (July 1905), I made 
a point of emphasising {Twelve Years, p. 435 25 ) this: 

"Like everything else in the world, the revolutionary- 
democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry 
has a past and a future. Its past is autocracy, serfdom, mon- 
archy, and privilege Its future is the struggle against 

private property, the struggle of the wage-worker against 
the employer, the struggle for socialism...."* 

Comrade Kamenev's mistake is that even in 1917 he sees 
only the past of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship 
of the proletariat and the peasantry. As a matter of fact 
its future has already begun, for the interests and policies 
of the wage-worker and the petty proprietor have actually 
diverged already, even in such an important question as 
that of "defencism", that of the attitude towards the impe- 
rialist war. 

This brings me to the second mistake in Comrade Kame- 
nev's argument quoted above. He criticises me, saying that 
my scheme "builds" on "the immediate transformation of 
this [bourgeois-democratic] revolution into a socialist 
revolution". 

This is incorrect. I not only do not "build" on the "imme- 
diate transformation" of our revolution into a socialist one, 
but I actually warn against it, when in Thesis No. 8, I state: 
"It is not our immediate task to 'introduce' socialism...".** 

Is it not clear that no person who builds on the immediate 
transformation of our revolution into a socialist revolution 
could be opposed to the immediate task of introducing so- 
cialism? 

Moreover, even a "commune state" (i.e., a state organised 
along the lines of the Paris Commune) cannot be introduced 
in Russia "immediately", because to do that it would be 
necessary for the majority of the deputies in all (or in most) 
Soviets to clearly recognise all the erroneousness and harm 
of the tactics and policy pursued by the S.R.s, Chkheidze, 
Tsereteli, Steklov, etc. As for me, I declared unmistakably 
that in this respect I "build" only on "patient" explaining 

* See present edition, Vol. 9, pp. 84-85.— Ed. 
** See p. 24 of this volume.— Ed. 



LETTERS ON TACTICS 



53 



(does one have to be patient to bring about a change which 
can be effected "immediately"?). 

Comrade Kamenev has somewhat overreached himself in 
his eagerness, and has repeated the bourgeois prejudice about 
the Paris Commune having wanted to introduce socialism 
"immediately". This is not so. The Commune, unfortunately, 
was too slow in introducing socialism. The real essence of 
the Commune is not where the bourgeois usually looks for 
it, but in the creation of a state of a special type. Such a 
state has already arisen in Russia, it is the Soviets of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies! 

Comrade Kamenev has not pondered on the fact, the 
significance, of the existing Soviets, their identity, in point 
of type and socio-political character, with the commune 
state, and instead of studying the fact, he began to talk 
about something I was supposed to be "building" on for the 
"immediate" future. The result is, unfortunately, a repeti- 
tion of the method used by many bourgeois: from the 
question as to what are the Soviets, whether they are of 
a higher type than a parliamentary republic, whether 
they are more useful for the people, more democratic, more 
convenient for the struggle, for combating, for instance, the 
grain shortage, etc. — from this real, urgent, vital issue, 
attention is diverted to the empty, would-be scientific, 
but actually hollow, professorially dead question of "build- 
ing on an immediate transformation". 

An idle question falsely presented. I "build" only on 
this, exclusively on this — that the workers, soldiers and 
peasants will deal better than the officials, better than the 
police, with the difficult practical, problems of producing 
more grain, distributing it better and keeping the soldiers 
better supplied, etc., etc. 

I am deeply convinced that the Soviets will make the 
independent activity of the masses a reality more quickly 
and effectively than will a parliamentary republic (I shall 
compare the two types of state in greater detail in another 
letter) They will more effectively, more practically and 
more correctly decide what steps can be taken towards 
socialism and how these steps should be taken. Control over a 
bank, the merging of all banks into one, is not yet socialism, 
but it is a step towards socialism. Today such steps are being 



54 



V. I. LENIN 



taken in Germany by the Junkers and the bourgeoisie against 
the people. Tomorrow the Soviet will be able to take these 
steps more effectively for the benefit of the people if the 
whole state power is in its hands. 
What compels such steps? 

Famine. Economic disorganisation. Imminent collapse. 
The horrors of war. The horrors of the wounds inflicted on 
mankind by the war. 

Comrade Kamenev concludes his article with the remark 
that "in a broad discussion he hopes to carry his point of 
view, which is the only possible one for revolutionary 
Social-Democracy if it wishes to and should remain to the 
very end the party of the revolutionary masses of the pro- 
letariat and not turn into a group of Communist propagan- 
dists". 

It seems to me that these words betray a completely 
erroneous estimate of the situation. Comrade Kamenev 
contraposes to a "party of the masses" a "group of propagan- 
dists". But the "masses" have now succumbed to the craze of 
"revolutionary" defencism. Is it not more becoming for 
internationalists at this moment to show that they can 
resist "mass" intoxication rather than to "wish to remain" 
with the masses, i.e., to succumb to the general epidemic? 
Have we not seen how in all the belligerent countries of 
Europe the chauvinists tried to justify themselves on the 
grounds that they wished to "remain with the masses"? 
Must we not be able to remain for a time in the minority 
against the "mass" intoxication? Is it not the work of the 
propagandists at the present moment that forms the key 
point for disentangling the proletarian line from the de- 
fencist and petty-bourgeois "mass" intoxication? It was this 
fusion of the masses, proletarian and non-proletarian, re- 
gardless of class differences within the masses, that formed 
one of the conditions for the defencist epidemic. To speak 
contemptuously of a "group of propagandists" advocating a 
proletarian line does not seem to be very becoming. 

Written between April 8 and 13 
(21 and 26), 1917 

Published as a pamphlet Published according 

in April 1917 by Priboi Publishers to the pamphlet text 



THE TASKS OF THE PROLETARIAT 
IN OUR REVOLUTION 

DRAFT PLATFORM FOR THE PROLETARIAN PARTY 



First published September 1917 Published according to 

as a pamphlet by Priboi the pamphlet text 

Publishers 
Signed: N. Lenin 



57 



The moment of history through which Russia is now 
passing is marked by the following main characteristics: 



THE CLASS CHARACTER OF THE REVOLUTION 
THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE 

1. The old tsarist power, which represented only a hand- 
ful of feudalist landowners who commanded the entire 
state machinery (the army, the police, and the bureaucracy), 
has been overthrown and removed, but not completely 
destroyed. The monarchy has not been formally abolished; 
the Romanov gang continues to hatch monarchist in- 
trigues. The vast landed possessions of the feudalist squire- 
archy have not been abolished. 

2. State power in Russia has passed into the hands of a 
new class, namely, the bourgeoisie and landowners who 
had become bourgeois. To this extent the bourgeois-demo- 
cratic revolution in Russia is completed. 

Having come to power, the bourgeoisie has formed a bloc 
(an alliance) with the overt monarchists, who are notorious 
for their exceptionally ardent support of Nicholas the Bloody 
and Stolypin the Hangman in 1906-14 (Guchkov and other 
politicians to the right of the Cadets 26 ). The new bourgeois 
government of Lvov and Co. has attempted and has begun 
to negotiate with the Romanovs for the restoration of 
the monarchy in Russia. Behind a screen of revolutionary 
phrases, this government is appointing partisans of the old 
regime to key positions. It is striving to reform the whole 
machinery of state (the army, the police, and the bureauc- 
racy) as little as possible, and has turned it over to the 
bourgeoisie. The new government has already begun to hinder 



58 



V. I. LENIN 



in every way the revolutionary initiative of mass action 
and the seizure of power by the people from below, which 
is the sole guarantee of the real success of the revolution. 

Up to now this government has not even fixed a date for 
the convocation of the Constituent Assembly. It is not 
laying a finger on the landed estates, which form the ma- 
terial foundation of feudal tsarism. This government does 
not even contemplate starting an investigation into, and 
making public, the activities of the monopolist financial 
organisations, the big banks, the syndicates and cartels of 
the capitalists, etc., or instituting control over them. 

The key positions, the decisive ministerial posts in the 
new government (the Ministry of the Interior and the War 
Ministry, i.e., the command over the army, the police, 
the bureaucracy — the entire apparatus for oppressing the 
people) are held by outright monarchists and supporters of 
the system of big landed estates. The Cadets, those day-old 
republicans, republicans against their own will, have been 
assigned minor posts, having no direct relation to the 
command over the people or to the apparatus of state power. 
A. Kerensky, a Trudovik 27 and "would-be socialist", has no 
function whatsoever, except to lull the vigilance and atten- 
tion of the people with sonorous phrases. 

For all these reasons, the new bourgeois government does 
not deserve the confidence of the proletariat even in the 
sphere of internal policy, and no support of this government 
by the proletariat is admissible. 



THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE NEW GOVERNMENT 

3. In the field of foreign policy, which has now been brought 
to the forefront by objective circumstances, the new 
government is a government for the continuation of the 
imperialist war, a war that is being waged in alliance with 
the imperialist powers — Britain, France, and others — for 
division of the capitalist spoils and for subjugating small 
and weak nations. 

Subordinated to the interests of Russian capitalism and 
its powerful protector and master — Anglo-French imperialist 
capitalism, the wealthiest in the world, the new govern- 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



59 



ment, notwithstanding the wishes expressed in no uncer- 
tain fashion on behalf of the obvious majority of the peoples 
of Russia through the Soviet of Soldiers' and Workers' 
Deputies, has taken no real steps to put an end to the slaughter 
of peoples for the interests of the capitalists. It has not 
even published the secret treaties of an obviously predatory 
character (for the partition of Persia, the plunder of China, 
the plunder of Turkey, the partition of Austria, the annexa- 
tion of Eastern Prussia, the annexation of the German 
colonies, etc.), which, as everybody knows, bind Russia to 
Anglo-French predatory imperialist capital. It has confirmed 
these treaties concluded by tsarism, which for centuries 
robbed and oppressed more nations than other tyrants and 
despots, and which not only oppressed, but also disgraced 
and demoralised the Great-Russian nation by making it an 
executioner of other nations. 

The new government has confirmed these shameful dep- 
redatory treaties and has not proposed an immediate ar- 
mistice to all the belligerent nations, in spite of the clearly 
expressed demand of the majority of the peoples of Russia, 
voiced through the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Depu- 
ties. It has evaded the issue with the help of solemn, sono- 
rous, bombastic, but absolutely empty declarations and 
phrases, which, in the mouths of bourgeois diplomats, have 
always served, and still serve, to deceive the trustful and 
naive masses of the oppressed people. 

4. Not only, therefore, is the new government unworthy 
of the slightest confidence in the field of foreign policy, 
but to go on demanding that it should proclaim the will 
of the peoples of Russia for peace, that it should renounce 
annexations, and so on and so forth, is in practice merely 
to deceive the people, to inspire them with false hopes and 
to retard the clarification of their minds. It is indirectly to 
reconcile them to the continuation of a war the true social 
character of which is determined not by pious wishes, but 
by the class character of the government that wages the war, 
by the connection between the class represented by this 
government and the imperialist finance capital of Russia, 
Britain, France, etc., by the real and actual policy which that 
class is pursuing. 



60 



V. I. LENIN 



THE PECULIAR NATURE OF THE DUAL POWER 
AND ITS CLASS SIGNIFICANCE 

5. The main feature of our revolution, a feature that most 
imperatively demands thoughtful consideration, is the 
dual power which arose in the very first days after the tri- 
umph of the revolution. 

This dual power is evident in the existence of two govern- 
ments: one is the main, the real, the actual government of 
the bourgeoisie, the "Provisional Government" of Lvov and 
Co., which holds in its hands all the organs of power; the 
other is a supplementary and parallel government, a "con- 
trolling" government in the shape of the Petrograd Soviet of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, which holds no organs of 
state power, but directly rests on the support of an obvious 
and indisputable majority of the people, on the armed 
workers and soldiers. 

The class origin and the class significance of this dual 
power is the following: the Russian revolution of March 
1917 not only swept away the whole tsarist monarchy, not 
only transferred the entire power to the bourgeoisie, but also 
moved close towards a revolutionary-democratic dictator- 
ship of the proletariat and the peasantry. The Petrograd 
and the other, the local, Soviets constitute precisely such a 
dictatorship (that is, a power resting not on the law but 
directly on the force of armed masses of the population), a 
dictatorship precisely of the above-mentioned classes. 

6. The second highly important feature of the Russian 
revolution is the fact that the Petrograd Soviet of Soldiers' 
and Workers' Deputies, which, as everything goes to show, 
enjoys the confidence of most of the local Soviets, is volun- 
tarily transferring state power to the bourgeoisie and its 
Provisional Government, is voluntarily ceding supremacy to 
the latter, having entered into an agreement to support it, 
and is limiting its own role to that of an observer, a super- 
visor of the convocation of the Constituent Assembly (the 
date for which has not even been announced as yet by the 
Provisional Government). 

This remarkable feature, unparalleled in history in such a 
form, has led to the interlocking of two dictatorships: the 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



61 



dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (for the government of 
Lvov and Co. is a dictatorship, i.e., a power based not on 
the law, not on the previously expressed will of the people, 
but on seizure by force, accomplished by a definite class, 
namely, the bourgeoisie) and the dictatorship of the prole- 
tariat and the peasantry (the Soviet of Workers' and Sol- 
diers' Deputies). 

There is not the slightest doubt that such an "interlocking" 
cannot last long. Two powers cannot exist in a state. One of 
them is bound to pass away; and the entire Russian bour- 
geoisie is already trying its hardest everywhere and in every 
way to keep out and weaken the Soviets, to reduce them to 
nought, and to establish the undivided power of the bour- 
geoisie. 

The dual power merely expresses a transitional phase 
in the revolution's development, when it has gone farther 
than the ordinary bourgeois-democratic revolution, but has 
not yet reached a "pure" dictatorship of the proletariat and 
the peasantry. 

The class significance (and the class explanation) of this 
transitional and unstable situation is this: like all revolu- 
tions, our revolution required the greatest heroism and self- 
sacrifice on the part of the people for the struggle against 
tsarism; it also immediately drew unprecedentedly vast 
numbers of ordinary citizens into the movement. 

From the point of view of science and practical politics, 
one of the chief symptoms of every real revolution is the 
unusually rapid, sudden, and abrupt increase in the number 
of "ordinary citizens" who begin to participate actively, 
independently and effectively in political life and in the 
organisation of the state. 

Such is the case in Russia. Russia at present is seething. 
Millions and tens of millions of people, who had been polit- 
ically dormant for ten years and politically crushed by the 
terrible oppression of tsarism and by inhuman toil for the 
landowners and capitalists, have awakened and taken eagerly 
to politics. And who are these millions and tens of millions? 
For the most part small proprietors, petty bourgeois, people 
standing midway between the capitalists and the wage- 
workers Russia is the most petty-bourgeois of all European 
countries. 



62 



V. I. LENIN 



A gigantic petty-bourgeois wave has swept over every- 
thing and overwhelmed the class-conscious proletariat, not 
only by force of numbers but also ideologically; that is, it 
has infected and imbued very wide circles of workers with 
the petty-bourgeois political outlook. 

The petty bourgeoisie are in real life dependent upon the 
bourgeoisie, for they live like masters and not like prole- 
tarians (from the point of view of their place in social pro- 
duction) and follow the bourgeoisie in their outlook. 

An attitude of unreasoning trust in the capitalists — the 
worst foes of peace and socialism — characterises the poli- 
tics of the popular masses in Russia at the present moment; 
this is the fruit that has grown with revolutionary rapidity 
on the social and economic soil of the most petty-bourgeois 
of all European countries. This is the class basis for the 
"agreement" between the Provisional Government and the 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies (I emphasise 
that I am referring not so much to the formal agreement as 
to actual support, a tacit agreement, the surrender of power 
inspired by unreasoning trust), an agreement which has 
given the Guchkovs a fat piece — real power — and the So- 
viet merely promises and honours (for the time being), 
flattery, phrases, assurances, and the bowings and scrapings 
of the Kerenskys. 

On the other side we have the inadequate numerical 
strength of the proletariat in Russia and its insufficient 
class-consciousness and organisation. 

All the Narodnik parties, including the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries, have always been petty-bourgeois. This is also 
true of the party of the Organising Committee (Chkheidze, 
Tsereteli, etc.). The non-party revolutionaries (Steklov 
and others) have similarly yielded to the tide, or have not 
been able to stand up to it, have not had the time to do it. 



THE PECULIAR NATURE OF THE TACTICS 
WHICH FOLLOW FROM THE ABOVE 

7. For the Marxist, who must reckon with objective 
facts, with the masses and classes, and not with individuals 
and so on, the peculiar nature of the actual situation as 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



63 



described above must determine the peculiar nature of the 
tactics for the present moment. 

This peculiarity of the situation calls, in the first place, 
for the pouring of vinegar and bile into the sweet water of 
revolutionary-democratic phraseology" (as my fellow member 
on the Central Committee of our Party, Teodorovich, 
so aptly put it at yesterday's session of the All-Russia 
Congress of Railwaymen in Petrograd). Our work must be 
one of criticism, of explaining the mistakes of the petty- 
bourgeois Socialist-Revolutionary and Social-Democratic 
parties, of preparing and welding the elements of a con- 
sciously proletarian, Communist Party, and of curing the 
proletariat of the "general" petty-bourgeois intoxication. 

This seems to be "nothing more" than propaganda work, 
but in reality it is most practical revolutionary work; for 
there is no advancing a revolution that has come to a stand- 
still, that has choked itself with phrases, and that keeps 
'marking time", not because of external obstacles, not 
because of the violence of the bourgeoisie (Guchkov is still 
only threatening to employ violence against the soldier 
mass), but because of the unreasoning trust of the people. 

Only by overcoming this unreasoning trust (and we can 
and should overcome it only ideologically, by comradely 
persuasion, by pointing to the lessons of experience) can we 
set ourselves free from the prevailing orgy of revolutionary 
phrase-mongering and really stimulate the consciousness 
both of the proletariat and of the mass in general, as well as 
their bold and determined initiative in the localities — the 
independent realisation, development and consolidation of 
liberties, democracy, and the principle of people's ownership 
of all the land. 

8. The world-wide experience of bourgeois and landowner 
governments has evolved two methods of keeping the people 
in subjection. The first is violence. Nicholas Romanov I, 
nicknamed Nicholas of the Big Stick, and Nicholas II, the 
Bloody, demonstrated to the Russian people the maximum 
of what can and cannot he done in the way of these hang- 
men's practices. But there is another method, best developed 
by the British and French bourgeoisie, who "learned their 
lesson" in a series of great revolutions and revolutionary 
movements of the masses. It is the method of deception, 



64 



V. I. LENIN 



flattery, fine phrases, promises by the million, petty sops, 
and concessions of the unessential while retaining the essen- 
tial. 

The peculiar feature of the present situation in Russia 
is the transition at a dizzy speed from the first method to 
the second, from violent oppression of the people to flat- 
tering and deceiving the people by promises. Vaska the Cat 
listens, but goes on eating. 28 Milyukov and Guchkov are 
holding power, they are protecting the profits of the capi- 
talists, conducting an imperialist war in the interests of 
Russian and Anglo-French capital, and trying to get away 
with promises, declamation and bombastic statements in 
reply to the speeches of "cooks" like Chkheidze, Tsereteli 
and Steklov, who threaten, exhort, conjure, beseech, demand 
and proclaim Vaska the Cat listens, but goes on eating. 

But from day to day trustful lack of reasoning and unrea- 
soning trust will be falling away, especially among the 
proletarians and poor peasants, who are being taught by 
experience (by their social and economic position) to 
distrust the capitalists. 

The leaders of the petty bourgeoisie "must" teach the 
people to trust the bourgeoisie. The proletarians must teach 
the people to distrust the bourgeoisie. 



REVOLUTIONARY DEFENCISM 
AND ITS CLASS SIGNIFICANCE 

9. Revolutionary defencism must be regarded as the most 
important, the most striking manifestation of the petty- 
bourgeois wave that has swept over "nearly everything". 
It is the worst enemy of the further progress and success 
of the Russian revolution. 

Those who have yielded on this point and have been unable 
to extricate themselves are lost to the revolution. But 
the masses yield in a different way from the leaders, and 
they extricate themselves differently , by a different course 
of development, by different means. 

Revolutionary defencism is, on the one hand, a result 
of the deception of the masses by the bourgeoisie, a result 
of the trustful lack of reasoning on the part of the peasants 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



65 



and a section of the workers; it is, on the other, an expres- 
sion of the interests and point of view of the small proprie- 
tor, who is to some extent interested in annexations and bank 
profits, and who "sacredly" guards the traditions of tsar- 
ism, which demoralised the Great Russians by making them 
do a hangman's work against the other peoples. 

The bourgeoisie deceives the people by working on their 
noble pride in the revolution and by pretending that the 
social and political character of the war, as far as Russia is 
concerned, underwent a change because of this stage of 
the revolution, because of the substitution of the near- 
republic of Guchkov and Milyukov for the tsarist monarchy. 
And the people believed it — for a time — largely owing to 
age-old prejudices, which made them look upon the other 
peoples of Russia, i.e., the non-Great Russians, as some- 
thing in the nature of a property and private estate of the 
Great Russians. This vile demoralisation of the Great- 
Russian people by tsarism which taught them to regard the 
other peoples as something inferior, something belonging 
"by right" to Great Russia, could not disappear instantly. 

What is required of us is the ability to explain to the 
masses that the social and political character of the war is 
determined not by the "good will" of individuals or groups, 
or even of nations, but by the position of the class which 
conducts the war, by the class policy of which the war is a 
continuation, by the ties of capital, which is the dominant 
economic force in modern society, by the imperialist char- 
acter of international capital, by Russia's dependence in 
finance, banking and diplomacy upon Britain, France, and 
so on. To explain this skilfully in a way the people would 
understand is not easy; none of us would be able to do it 
at once without committing errors. 

But this, and only this, must be the aim or, rather, 
the message of our propaganda. The slightest concession to 
revolutionary defencism is a betrayal of socialism, a com- 
plete renunciation of internationalism, no matter by what 
fine phrases and "practical" considerations it may be justi- 
fied. 

The slogan "Down with the War!" is, of course, correct. 
But it fails to take into account the specific nature of the 
tasks of the present moment and the necessity of approach- 



66 



V. I. LENIN 



ing the broad mass of the people in a different way. It reminds 
me of the slogan "Down with the Tsar!" with which the in- 
experienced agitator of the "good old days" went simply 
and directly to the countryside — and got a beating for his 
pains. The mass believers in revolutionary defencism are 
honest, not in the personal, but in the class sense, i.e., 
they belong to classes (workers and the peasant poor) 
which in actual fact have nothing to gain from annexations 
and the subjugation of other peoples. This is nothing like 
the bourgeois and the "intellectual" fraternity, who know 
very well that you cannot renounce annexations without 
renouncing the rule of capital, and who unscrupulously de- 
ceive the people with fine phrases, with unlimited promises 
and endless assurances. 

The rank-and-file believer in defencism regards the 
matter in the simple way of the man in the street: "I don't 
want annexations, but the Germans are 'going for' me, there- 
fore I'm defending a just cause and not any kind of imperial- 
ist interests at all." To a man like this it must be explained 
again and again that it is not a question of his personal 
wishes, but of mass, class, political relations and conditions, 
of the connection between the war and the interests of capi- 
tal and the international network of banks, and so forth. 
Only such a struggle against defencism will be serious and 
will promise success — perhaps not a very rapid success, but 
one that will be real and enduring. 



HOW CAN THE WAR BE ENDED? 

10. The war cannot be ended "at will". It cannot be ended 
by the decision of one of the belligerents. It cannot be ended 
by "sticking your bayonet into the ground", as one soldier, 
a defencist, expressed it. 

The war cannot be ended by an "agreement" among the 
socialists of the various countries, by the "action" of the 
proletarians of all countries, by the "will" of the peoples, 
and so forth. All the phrases of this kind, which fill the 
articles of the defencist, semi-defencist, and semi-interna- 
tionalist papers as well as innumerable resolutions, appeals, 
manifestos, and the resolutions of the Soviet of Soldiers.' 



PoccIflCKa* Couianb-fleMOKparimecKafl Pa6onasi flan™. 



Upo.itmapiu tcnxt cmpaxt>, caedunxumect! 



H. DeHHHV 

3a^aHH npojieTapiaTa 
bt> Haw eft peeojiioi^iH. 

(riPOEKTb nJlAT*OPMbI nPOJlETAPCKOH rUPTIM). 




ncT«p6yprt. 
1917— CeMT»i6pb. 



Ttmorpa^i* „Tpyiv', T-bo „Pa6oiM Ileiart,". Kasajicprapaocan, 10. 



The cover of Lenin's pamphlet 
The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution, 1917 



Reduced 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



67 



and Workers' Deputies — all such phrases are nothing but 
idle, innocent and pious wishes of the petty bourgeois. 
There is nothing more harmful than phrases like "ascer- 
taining the will of the peoples for peace", like the sequence 
of revolutionary actions of the proletariat (after the Russian 
proletariat comes the turn of the German), etc. All this is 
Blancism, fond dreams, a playing at "political campaigning", 
and in reality just a repetition of the fable of Vaska the Cat. 

The war is not a product of the evil will of rapacious 
capitalists, although it is undoubtedly being fought only in 
their interests and they alone are being enriched by it. 
The war is a product of half a century of development of 
world capitalism and of its billions of threads and connec- 
tions. It is impossible to slip out of the imperialist war and 
achieve a democratic, non-coercive peace without overthrow- 
ing the power of capital and transferring state power 
to another class, the proletariat. 

The Russian revolution of February-March 1917 was the 
beginning of the transformation of the imperialist war into a 
civil war. This revolution took the first step towards ending 
the war; but it requires a second step, namely, the transfer 
of state power to the proletariat, to make the end of the war a 
certainty. This will be the beginning of a "break-through" 
on a world-wide scale, a break-through in the front of capi- 
talist interests; and only by breaking through this front can 
the proletariat save mankind from the horrors of war and 
endow it with the blessings of peace. 

It is directly to such a "break-through" in the front of 
capitalism that the Russian revolution has already brought 
the Russian proletariat by creating the Soviets of Workers' 
Deputies. 

A NEW TYPE OF STATE 
EMERGING FROM OUR REVOLUTION 

11. The Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants' and 
other Deputies are not understood, not only in the sense 
that their class significance, their role in the Russian 
revolution, is not clear to the majority. They are not under- 
stood also in the sense that they constitute a new form or 
rather a new type of state. 



68 



V. I. LENIN 



The most perfect, the most advanced type of bourgeois 
state is the parliamentary democratic republic: power is 
vested in parliament; the state machine, the apparatus and 
organ of administration, is of the customary kind: the 
standing army, the police, and the bureaucracy — which in 
practice is undisplaceable, is privileged and stands above 
the people. 

Since the end of the nineteenth century, however, revolu- 
tionary epochs have advanced a higher type of democratic 
state, a state which in certain respects, as Engels put it, 
ceases to be a state, is "no longer a state in the proper sense 
of the word". 29 This is a state of the Paris Commune type, 
one in which a standing army and police divorced from the 
people are replaced by the direct arming of the people them- 
selves. It is this feature that constitutes the very essence of 
the Commune, which has been so misrepresented and slan- 
dered by the bourgeois writers, and to which has been er- 
roneously ascribed, among other things, the intention of 
immediately "introducing" socialism. 

This is the type of state which the Russian revolution 
began to create in 1905 and in 1917. A Republic of Soviets 
of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', and other Deputies, united 
in an All-Russia Constituent Assembly of people's repre- 
sentatives or in a Council of Soviets, etc., is what is already 
being realised in our country now, at this juncture. It is 
being realised by the initiative of the nation's millions, who 
are creating a democracy on their own, in their own way, 
without waiting until the Cadet professors draft their 
legislative bills for a parliamentary bourgeois republic, or 
until the pedants and routine-worshippers of petty-bour- 
geois "Social-Democracy", like Mr. Plekhanov or Kautsky, 
stop distorting the Marxist teaching on the state. 

Marxism differs from anarchism in that it recognises the 
need for a state and for state power in the period of revolu- 
tion in general, and in the period of transition from capital- 
ism to socialism in particular. 

Marxism differs from the petty-bourgeois, opportunist 
"Social-Democratism" of Plekhanov, Kautsky and Co. in 
that it recognises that what is required during these two 
periods is not a state of the usual parliamentary bourgeois 
republican type, but a state of the Paris Commune type. 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



69 



The main distinctions between a state of the latter type 
and the old state are as follows. 

It is quite easy (as history proves) to revert from a parlia- 
mentary bourgeois republic to a monarchy, for all the 
machinery of oppression — the army, the police, and the 
bureaucracy — is left intact. The Commune and the Soviet 
smash that machinery and do away with it. 

The parliamentary bourgeois republic hampers and 
stifles the independent political life of the masses, their 
direct participation in the democratic organisation of the life 
of the state from the bottom up. The opposite is the case 
with the Soviets. 

The latter reproduce the type of state which was being 
evolved by the Paris Commune and which Marx described as 
"the political form at last discovered under which to work 
out the economic emancipation of labour". 30 

We are usually told that the Russian people are not yet 
prepared for the "introduction" of the Commune. This 
was the argument of the serf-owners when they claimed that 
the peasants were not prepared for emancipation. The 
Commune, i.e., the Soviets, does not "introduce", does not 
intend to "introduce", and must not introduce any reforms 
which have not absolutely matured both in economic reality 
and in the minds of the overwhelming majority of the people. 
The deeper the economic collapse and the crisis produced 
by the war, the more urgent becomes the need for the most 
perfect political form, which will facilitate the healing 
of the terrible wounds inflicted on mankind by the war. 
The less the organisational experience of the Russian people, 
the more resolutely must we proceed to organisational 
development by the people themselves and not merely by 
the bourgeois politicians and "well-placed" bureau- 
crats. 

The sooner we shed the old prejudices of pseudo-Marxism, 
a Marxism falsified by Plekhanov, Kautsky and Co., the 
more actively we set about helping the people to organise 
Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies everywhere and 
immediately, and helping the latter to take life in its entirety 
under their control, and the longer Lvov and Co. delay the 
convocation of the Constituent Assembly, the easier will it 
be for the people (through the medium of the Constituent 



70 



V. I. LENIN 



Assembly, or independently of it, if Lvov delays its convo- 
cation too long) to cast their decision in favour of a repub- 
lic of Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies. Errors 
in the new work of organisational development by the 
people themselves are at first inevitable; but it is better 
to make mistakes and go forward than to wait until the 
professors of law summoned by Mr. Lvov draft their laws 
for the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, for the 
perpetuation of the parliamentary bourgeois republic and 
for the strangling of the Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' 
Deputies. 

If we organise ourselves and conduct our propaganda 
skilfully, not only the proletarians, but nine-tenths of the 
peasants will be opposed to the restoration of the police, 
will be opposed to an undisplaceable and privileged bureau- 
cracy and to an army divorced from the people. And that is 
all the new type of state stands for. 

12. The substitution of a people's militia for the police 
is a reform that follows from the entire course of the revolu- 
tion and that is now being introduced in most parts of Rus- 
sia. We must explain to the people that in most of the 
bourgeois revolutions of the usual type, this reform was 
always extremely short-lived, and that the bourgeoisie — 
even the most democratic and republican — restored the 
police of the old, tsarist type, a police divorced from the 
people, commanded by the bourgeoisie and capable of op- 
pressing the people in every way. 

There is only one way to prevent the restoration of the 
police, and that is to create a people's militia and to fuse it 
with the army (the standing army to be replaced by the 
arming of the entire people). Service in this militia should 
extend to all citizens of both sexes between the ages of 
fifteen and sixty-five without exception, if these tentatively 
suggested age limits may be taken as indicating the partici- 
pation of adolescents and old people. Capitalists must pay 
their workers, servants, etc., for days devoted to public 
service in the militia. Unless women are brought to take an 
independent part not only in political life generally, but 
also in daily and universal public service, it is no use talk- 
ing about full and stable democracy, let alone socialism. 
And such "police" functions as care of the sick and of 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



71 



homeless children, food inspection, etc., will never be satis- 
factorily discharged until women are on an equal footing 
with men, not merely nominally but in reality. 

The tasks which the proletariat must put before the 
people in order to safeguard, consolidate and develop the 
revolution are prevention of the restoration of the police and 
enlistment of the organisational forces of the entire people 
in forming a people's militia. 



THE AGRARIAN AND NATIONAL PROGRAMMES 

13. At the present moment we cannot say for certain 
whether a mighty agrarian revolution will develop in the 
Russian countryside in the near future. We cannot say 
exactly how profound the class cleavage is among the peas- 
ants, which has undoubtedly grown more profound of late 
as a division into agricultural labourers, wage-workers and 
poor peasants ("semi-proletarians"), on the one hand, and 
wealthy and middle peasants (capitalists and petty capital- 
ists), on the other. Such questions will be, and can be, de- 
cided only by experience. 

Being the party of the proletariat, however, we are un- 
questionably in duty bound not only immediately to advance 
an agrarian (land) programme but also to advocate practi- 
cal measures which can be immediately realised in the 
interests of the peasant agrarian revolution in Russia. 

We must demand the nationalisation of all the land, 
i.e., that all the land in the state should become the prop- 
erty of the central state power. This power must fix the 
size, etc., of the resettlement land fund, pass legislation for 
the conservation of forests, for land improvement, etc., 
and absolutely prohibit any middlemen to interpose them- 
selves between the owner of the land, i.e., the state, and 
the tenant, i.e., the tiller (prohibit all subletting of land). 
However, the disposal of the land, the determination of 
the local regulations governing ownership and tenure of 
land, must in no case be placed in the hands of bureaucrats 
and officials, but wholly and exclusively in the hands of 
the regional and local Soviets of Peasants' Deputies. 



72 



V. I. LENIN 



In order to improve grain production techniques and 
increase output, and in order to develop rational cultivation 
on a large scale under public control, we must strive within 
the peasants' committees to secure the transformation 
of every confiscated landed estate into a large model farm 
controlled by the Soviet of Agricultural Labourers' Depu- 
ties. 

In order to counteract the petty-bourgeois phrase-mon- 
gering and the policy prevailing among the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, particularly the idle talk about "subsistence" 
standards or "labour" standards, "socialisation of the land", 
etc., the party of the proletariat must make it clear that 
small-scale farming under commodity production cannot 
save mankind from poverty and oppression. 

Without necessarily splitting the Soviets of Peasants' 
Deputies at once, the party of the proletariat must explain 
the need for organising separate Soviets of Agricultural 
Labourers' Deputies and separate Soviets of deputies from 
the poor (semi-proletarian) peasants, or, at least, for hold- 
ing regular separate conferences of deputies of this class 
status in the shape of separate groups or parties within the 
general Soviets of Peasants' Deputies. Otherwise all the 
honeyed petty-bourgeois talk of the Narodniks 31 regarding 
the peasants in general will serve as a shield for the decep- 
tion of the propertyless mass by the wealthy peasants, 
who are merely a variety of capitalists. 

To counteract the bourgeois-liberal or purely bureau- 
cratic sermons preached by many Socialist-Revolutionaries 
and Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, who advise 
the peasants not to seize the landed estates and not to 
start the agrarian reform pending the convocation of the 
Constituent Assembly, the party of the proletariat must 
urge the peasants to carry out the agrarian reform at once 
on their own, and to confiscate the landed estates immedi- 
ately, upon the decisions of the peasants' deputies in the 
localities. 

At the same time, it is most important to insist on the 
necessity of increasing food production for the soldiers 
at the front and for the towns, and on the absolute inad- 
missibility of causing any damage or injury to livestock, 
implements, machinery, buildings, etc. 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



73 



14. As regards the national question, the proletarian 
party first of all must advocate the proclamation and im- 
mediate realisation of complete freedom of secession from 
Russia for all the nations and peoples who were oppressed 
by tsarism, or who were forcibly joined to, or forcibly kept 
within the boundaries of, the state, i.e., annexed. 

All statements, declarations and manifestos concerning 
renunciation of annexations that are not accompanied by the 
realisation of the right of secession in practice, are nothing 
but bourgeois deception of the people, or else pious petty- 
bourgeois wishes. 

The proletarian party strives to create as large a state as 
possible, for this is to the advantage of the working people; 
it strives to draw nations closer together, and bring about 
their further fusion; but it desires to achieve this aim not by 
violence, but exclusively through a free fraternal union of 
the workers and the working people of all nations. 

The more democratic the Russian republic, and the 
more successfully it organises itself into a Republic of 
Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies, the more 
powerful will be the force of voluntary attraction to such 
a republic on the part of the working people of all 
nations. 

Complete freedom of secession, the broadest local (and 
national) autonomy, and elaborate guarantees of the rights 
of national minorities — this is the programme of the revolu- 
tionary proletariat. 



NATIONALISATION OF THE BANKS 
AND CAPITALIST SYNDICATES 

15. Under no circumstances can the party of the prole- 
tariat set itself the aim of "introducing" socialism in a 
country of small peasants so long as the overwhelming 
majority of the population has not come to realise the need 
for a socialist revolution. 

But only bourgeois sophists, hiding behind "near-Marx- 
ist" catchwords, can deduce from this truth a justifica- 
tion of the policy of postponing immediate revolutionary 
measures, the time for which is fully ripe; measures which 



74 



V. I. LENIN 



have been frequently resorted to during the war by a number of 
bourgeois states, and which are absolutely indispensable in 
order to combat impending total economic disorganisation 
and famine. 

Such measures as the nationalisation of the land, of all 
the banks and capitalist syndicates, or, at least, the imme- 
diate establishment of the control of the Soviets of Workers' 
Deputies, etc., over them — measures which do not in any 
way constitute the "introduction" of socialism — must be 
absolutely insisted on, and, whenever possible, carried out 
in a revolutionary way. Without such measures, which are 
only steps towards socialism, and which are perfectly fea- 
sible economically, it will be impossible to heal the wounds 
caused by the war and to avert the impending collapse; 
and the party of the revolutionary proletariat will never 
hesitate to lay hands on the fabulous profits of the capital- 
ists and bankers, who are enriching themselves on the war 
in a particularly scandalous manner. 



THE SITUATION 
WITHIN THE SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL 

16. The international obligations of the working class of 
Russia are precisely now coming to the forefront with par- 
ticular force. 

Only lazy people do not swear by internationalism these 
days. Even the chauvinist defencists, even Plekhanov and 
Potresov, even Kerensky, call themselves internationalists. 
It becomes the duty of the proletarian party all the more 
urgently, therefore, to clearly, precisely and definitely 
counterpose internationalism in deed to internationalism in 
word. 

Mere appeals to the workers of all countries, empty as- 
surances of devotion to internationalism, direct or indirect 
attempts to fix a "sequence" of action by the revolutionary 
proletariat in the various belligerent countries, laborious 
efforts to conclude "agreements" between the socialists of 
the belligerent countries on the question of the revolutionary 
struggle, all the fuss over the summoning of socialist con- 
gresses for the purpose of a peace campaign, etc., etc. — no 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



75 



matter how sincere the authors of such ideas, attempts, 
and plans may be — amount, as far as their objective-signifi- 
cance is concerned, to mere phrase-mongering, and at best 
are innocent and pious wishes, fit only to conceal the decep- 
tion of the people by the chauvinists. The French social-chau- 
vinists, who are the most adroit and accomplished in meth- 
ods of parliamentary hocus-pocus, have long since broken 
the record for ranting and resonant pacifist and internation- 
alist phrases coupled with the incredibly brazen betrayal 
of socialism and the International, the acceptance of posts 
in governments which conduct the imperialist war, the 
voting of credits or loans (as Chkheidze, Skobelev, Tsere- 
teli and Steklov have been doing recently in Russia), oppo- 
sition to the revolutionary struggle in their own country, 
etc., etc. 

Good people often forget the brutal and savage setting 
of the imperialist world war. This setting does not tolerate 
phrases, and mocks at innocent and pious wishes. 

There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, 
and that is — working whole-heartedly for the development of 
the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle 
in one's own country, and supporting (by propaganda, 
sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this, and only 
this, line, in every country without exception. 

Everything else is deception and Manilovism. 32 

During the two odd years of the war the international 
socialist and working-class movement in every country has 
evolved three trends. Whoever ignores reality and refuses 
to recognise the existence of these three trends, to analyse 
them, to fight consistently for the trend that is really in- 
ternationalist, is doomed to impotence, helplessness and 
errors. 

The three trends are: 

1) The social-chauvinists, i.e., socialists in word and 
chauvinists in deed, people who recognise "defence of 
the fatherland" in an imperialist war (and above all in the 
present imperialist war). 

These people are our class enemies. They have gone over 
to the bourgeoisie. 

They are the majority of the official leaders of the offi- 
cial Social-Democratic parties in all countries — Plekhanov 



76 



V. I. LENIN 



and Co. in Russia, the Scheidemanns in Germany, Re- 
naudel, Guesde and Sembat in France, Bissolati and Co. 
in Italy, Hyndman, the Fabians 33 and the Labourites (the 
leaders of the "Labour Party") in Britain, Branting and Co. 
in Sweden, Troelstra and his party in Holland, Stauning 
and his party in Denmark, Victor Berger and the other 
"defenders of the fatherland" in America, and so forth. 

2) The second trend, known as the "Centre", consists 
of people who vacillate between the social-chauvinists and 
the true internationalists. 

The "Centre" all vow and declare that they are Marxists 
and internationalists, that they are for peace, for bringing 
every kind of "pressure" to bear upon the governments, for 
"demanding" in every way that their own government should 
"ascertain the will of the people for peace", that they are for 
all sorts of peace campaigns, for peace without annexations, 
etc., etc. — and for peace with the social-chauvinists . The 
"Centre" is for "unity", the Centre is opposed to a split. 

The "Centre" is a realm of honeyed petty-bourgeois phrases, 
of internationalism in word and cowardly opportunism 
and fawning on the social-chauvinists in deed. 

The crux of the matter is that the "Centre" is not convinced 
of the necessity for a revolution against one's own gov- 
ernment; it does not preach revolution; it does not carry 
on a whole-hearted revolutionary struggle; and in order to 
evade such a struggle it resorts to the tritest ultra-"Marx- 
ist"-sounding excuses. 

The social-chauvinists are our class enemies, they are 
bourgeois within the working-class movement. They rep- 
resent a stratum, or groups, or sections of the working 
class which objectively have been bribed by the bourgeoisie 
(by better wages, positions of honour, etc.), and which help 
their own bourgeoisie to plunder and oppress small and weak 
peoples and to fight for the division of the capitalist 
spoils. 

The "Centre" consists of routine-worshippers, eroded 
by the canker of legality, corrupted by the parliamentary 
atmosphere, etc., bureaucrats accustomed to snug positions 
and soft jobs. Historically and economically speaking, they 
are not a separate stratum but represent only a transition 
from a past phase of the working-class movement — the phase 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



77 



between 1871 and 1914, which gave much that is valuable to 
the proletariat, particularly in the indispensable art of 
slow, sustained and systematic organisational work on a 
large and very large scale — to a new phase that became 
objectively essential with the outbreak of the first imperial- 
ist world war, which inaugurated the era of social revolution. 

The chief leader and spokesman of the "Centre" is Karl 
Kautsky, the most outstanding authority in the Second 
International (1889-1914), since August 1914 a model of 
utter bankruptcy as a Marxist, the embodiment of unheard-of 
spinelessness, and the most wretched vacillations and 
betrayals. This "Centrist" trend includes Kautsky, Haase, 
Ledebour and the so-called workers' or labour group 34 in 
the Reichstag; in France it includes Longuet, Pressemane 
and the so-called minoritaires 35 (Mensheviks) in general; 
in Britain, Philip Snowden, Ramsay MacDonald and many 
other leaders of the Independent Labour Party, 36 and some 
leaders of the British Socialist Party 37 ; Morris Hillquit 
and many others in the United States; Turati, Treves, 
Modigliani and others in Italy; Robert Grimm and others in 
Switzerland; Victor Adler and Co. in Austria; the party 
of the Organising Committee, Axelrod, Martov, Chkheidze, 
Tsereteli and others in Russia, and so forth. 

Naturally, at times individuals unconsciously drift from 
the social-chauvinist to the "Centrist" position, and vice 
versa. Every Marxist knows that classes are distinct, even 
though individuals may move freely from one class to anoth- 
er; similarly, trends in political life are distinct in spite 
of the fact that individuals may change freely from one 
trend to another, and in spite of all attempts and efforts to 
amalgamate trends. 

3) The third trend, that of the true internationalists, is best 
represented by the "Zimmerwald Left". 38 (We reprint as 
a supplement its manifesto of September 1915, to enable the 
reader to learn of the inception of this trend at first 
hand.) 

Its distinctive feature is its complete break with both 
social-chauvinism and "Centrism", and its gallant revolu- 
tionary struggle against its own imperialist government and 
its own imperialist bourgeoisie. Its principle is: "Our chief 
enemy is at home." It wages a ruthless struggle against 



78 



V. I. LENIN 



honeyed social-pacifist phrases (a social-pacifist is a social- 
ist in word and a bourgeois pacifist in deed; bourgeois paci- 
fists dream of an everlasting peace without the overthrow 
of the yoke and domination of capital) and against all 
subterfuges employed to deny the possibility, or the appro- 
priateness, or the timeliness of a proletarian revolutionary 
struggle and of a proletarian socialist revolution in connec- 
tion with the present war. 

The most outstanding representative of this trend in 
Germany is the Spartacus group or the Internationale 
group, 39 to which Karl Liebknecht belongs. Karl Liebknecht is 
a most celebrated representative of this trend and of the 
new, and genuine, proletarian International. 

Karl Liebknecht called upon the workers and soldiers of 
Germany to turn their guns against their own government. 
Karl Liebknecht did that openly from the rostrum of par- 
liament (the Reichstag). He then went to a demonstration 
in Potsdamer Platz, one of the largest public squares in 
Berlin, with illegally printed leaflets proclaiming the slo- 
gan "Down with the Government!" He was arrested and sen- 
tenced to hard labour. He is now serving his term in a Ger- 
man convict prison, like hundreds, if not thousands, of 
other true German socialists who have been imprisoned for 
their anti-war activities. 

Karl Liebknecht in his speeches and letters mercilessly 
attacked not only his own Plekhanovs and Potresovs (Schei- 
demanns, Legiens, Davids and Co.), but also his own Cen- 
trists, his own Chkheidzes and Tseretelis (Kautsky, Haase, 
Ledebour and Co.). 

Karl Liebknecht and his friend Otto Riihle, two out of 
one hundred and ten deputies, violated discipline, destroyed 
the "unity" with the "Centre" and the chauvinists, and 
went against all of them. Liebknecht alone represents social- 
ism, the proletarian cause, the proletarian revolution. All 
the rest of German Social-Democracy, to quote the apt 
words of Rosa Luxemburg (also a member and one of the 
leaders of the Spartacus group), is a "stinking corpse". 

Another group of true internationalists in Germany is 
that of the Bremen paper Arbeiterpolitik . 

Closest to the internationalists in deed are: in France, 
Loriot and his friends (Bourderon and Merrheim have 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



79 



slid down to social-pacifism), as well as the Frenchman 
Henri Guilbeaux, who publishes in Geneva the journal 
Demain; in Britain, the newspaper The Trade Unionist, 
and some of the members of the British Socialist Party and of 
the Independent Labour Party (for instance, Russel Wil- 
liams, who openly called for a break with the leaders who 
have betrayed socialism), the Scottish socialist school- 
teacher MacLean, who was sentenced to hard labour by the 
bourgeois government of Britain for his revolutionary fight 
against the war, and hundreds of British socialists who are 
in jail for the same offence. They, and they alone, are 
internationalists in deed. In the United States, the Socialist 
Labour Party 40 and those within the opportunist Social- 
ist Party 41 who in January 1917 began publication of 
the paper, The Internationalist; in Holland, the Party of 
the "Tribunists" 42 which publishes the paper De Tribune 
(Pannekoek, Herman Gorter, Wijnkoop, and Henriette 
Roland-Hoist, who, although Centrist at Zimmerwald, has 
now joined our ranks); in Sweden, the Party of the Young, 
or the Left, 43 led by Lindhagen, Ture Nerman, Carleson, 
Strom and Z. Hoglund, who at Zimmerwald was personally 
active in the organisation of the "Zimmerwald Left", and 
who is now in prison for his revolutionary fight against 
the war; in Denmark, Trier and his friends who have left 
the now purely bourgeois "Social-Democratic" Party of 
Denmark, headed by the Minister Stauning; in Bulgaria, 
the "Tesnyaki" 44 ; in Italy, the nearest are Constantino 
Lazzari, secretary of the party, and Serrati, editor of the 
central organ, Avanti! 45 ; in Poland, Radek, Hanecki and 
other leaders of the Social-Democrats united under the "Re- 
gional Executive", and Rosa Luxemburg, Tyszka and other 
leaders of the Social-Democrats united under the "Chief 
Executive" 46 ; in Switzerland, those of the Left who drew up 
the argument for the "referendum" (January 1917) in order 
to fight the social-chauvinists and the "Centre" in their own 
country and who at the Zurich Cantonal Socialist Conven- 
tion, held at Toss on February 11, 1917, moved a consistently 
revolutionary resolution against the war; in Austria, the 
young Left-wing friends of Friedrich Adler, who acted partly 
through the Karl Marx Club in Vienna, now closed by the 
arch-reactionary Austrian Government, which is ruining 



80 



V. I. LENIN 



Adler's life for his heroic though ill-considered shooting at a 
minister, and so on. 

It is not a question of shades of opinion, which certainly 
exist even among the Lefts. It is a question of trend. The 
thing is that it is not easy to be an internationalist in deed 
during a terrible imperialist war. Such people are few; 
but it is on such people alone that the future of socialism 
depends; they alone are the leaders of the people, and not 
their corrupters. 

The distinction between the reformists and the revolu- 
tionaries, among the Social-Democrats, and socialists 
generally, was objectively bound to undergo a change under 
the conditions of the imperialist war. Those who confine 
themselves to "demanding" that the bourgeois governments 
should conclude peace or "ascertain the will of the peoples 
for peace", etc., are actually slipping into reforms. For, 
objectively, the problem of the war can be solved only in a 
revolutionary way. 

There is no possibility of this war ending in a demo- 
cratic, non-coercive peace or of the people being relieved of 
the burden of billions paid in interest to the capitalists, 
who have made fortunes out of the war, except through a 
revolution of the proletariat. 

The most varied reforms can and must be demanded of 
the bourgeois governments, but one cannot, without sinking 
to Manilovism and reformism, demand that people and 
classes entangled by the thousands of threads of imperialist 
capital should tear those threads. And unless they are torn, 
all talk of a war against war is idle and deceitful prattle. 

The "Kautskyites", the "Centre", are revolutionaries in 
word and reformists in deed, they are internationalists in 
word and accomplices of the social-chauvinists in deed. 

THE COLLAPSE 
OF THE ZIMMERWALD INTERNATIONAL.— 
THE NEED FOR FOUNDING A THIRD INTERNATIONAL 

17. From the very outset, the Zimmerwald International 
adopted a vacillating, "Kautskyite", "Centrist" position, 
which immediately compelled the Zimmerwald Left to 
dissociate itself, to separate itself from the rest, and to 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



81 



issue its own manifesto (published in Switzerland in Rus- 
sian, German and French). 

The chief shortcoming of the Zimmerwald International, 
and the cause of its collapse (for politically and ideologically 
it has already collapsed), was its vacillation and indecision 
on such a momentous issue of crucial practical significance 
as that of breaking completely with social-chauvinism and 
the old social-chauvinist International, headed by Van- 
dervelde and Huysmans at The Hague (Holland), etc. 

It is not as yet known in Russia that the Zimmerwald 
majority are nothing but Kautskyites. Yet this is the fun- 
damental fact, one which cannot be ignored, and which is 
now generally known in Western Europe. Even that chau- 
vinist, that extreme German chauvinist, Heilmann, editor of 
the ultra-chauvinistic Chemnitzer Volksstimme and contribu- 
tor to Parvus's ultra-chauvinistic Glocke 41 (a "Social- 
Democrat", of course, and an ardent partisan of Social-Dem- 
ocratic "unity"), was compelled to acknowledge in the 
press that the Centre, or "Kautskyism", and the Zimmerwald 
majority were one and the same thing. 

This fact was definitely established at the end of 1916 
and the beginning of 1917. Although social-pacifism was 
condemned by the Kienthal Manifesto, 48 the whole Zimmer- 
wald Right, the entire Zimmerwald majority, sank to 
social-pacifism: Kautsky and Co. in a series of utterances 
in January and February 1917; Bourderon and Merrheim in 
France, who cast their votes in unanimity with the social- 
chauvinists for the pacifist resolutions of the Socialist Party 
(December 1916) and of the Confederation Generale du 
Travail (the national organisation of the French trade 
unions, also in December 1916); Turati and Co. in Italy, 
where the entire party took up a social-pacifist position, 
while Turati himself, in a speech delivered on December 17, 
1916, "slipped" (not by accident, of course) into nationalist 
phrases whitewashing the imperialist war. 

In January 1917, the chairman of the Zimmerwald and 
Kienthal conferences, Robert Grimm, joined the social- 
chauvinists in his own party (Greulich, Pfliiger, Gustav 
Miiller and others) against the internationalists in deed. 

At two conferences of Zimmerwaldists from various coun- 
tries in January and February 1917, this equivocal, double- 



82 



V. I. LENIN 



faced behaviour of the Zimmerwald majority was formally 
stigmatised by the Left internationalists of several coun- 
tries: by Munzenberg, secretary of the international youth 
organisation and editor of the excellent internationalist 
publication Die Jugendinternationale 49 ; by Zinoviev, rep- 
resentative of the Central Committee of our Party; by 
K. Radek of the Polish Social-Democratic Party (the "Region- 
al Executive"), and by Hartstein, a German Social-Demo- 
crat and member of the Spartacus group. 

Much is given to the Russian proletariat; nowhere in 
the world has the working class yet succeeded in developing 
so much revolutionary energy as in Russia. But to whom 
much is given, of him much is required. 

The Zimmerwald bog can no longer be tolerated. We must 
not, for the sake of the Zimmerwald "Kautskyites", continue 
the semi-alliance with the chauvinist International of the 
Plekhanovs and Scheidemanns. We must break with this 
International immediately. We must remain in Zimmerwald 
only for purposes of information. 

It is we who must found, and right now, without delay, 
a new, revolutionary, proletarian International, or rather, 
we must not fear to acknowledge publicly that this new 
International is already established and operating. 

This is the International of those "internationalists 
in deed" whom I precisely listed above. They and they alone 
are representatives of the revolutionary, internationalist 
mass, and not their corrupters. 

And if socialists of that type are few, let every Russian 
worker ask himself whether there were many really class- 
conscious revolutionaries in Russia on th'e eve of the Feb- 
ruary-March revolution of 1917. 

It is not a question of numbers, but of giving correct 
expression to the ideas and policies of the truly revolution- 
ary proletariat. The thing is not to "proclaim" internation- 
alism, but to be able to be an internationalist in deed, even 
when times are most trying. 

Let us not deceive ourselves with hopes of agreements 
and international congresses. As long as the imperialist 
war is on, international intercourse is held in the iron 
vise of the military dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoi- 
sie. If even the "republican" Milyukov, who is obliged to 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



83 



tolerate the parallel government of the Soviet of Workers' 
Deputies, did not allow Fritz Flatten, the Swiss socialist, 
secretary of the party, an internationalist and participant 
in the Zimmerwald and Kienthal conferences, to enter 
Russia in April 1917, in spite of the fact that Platten has a 
Russian wife and was on his way to visit his wife's relatives, 
and in spite of the fact that he had taken part in the revo- 
lution of 1905 in Riga, for which he had been confined in a 
Russian prison, had given bail to the tsarist government for 
his release and wished to recover that bail — if the "repub- 
lican" Milyukov could do such a thing in April 1917 in Rus- 
sia, one can judge what value can be put on the promises 
and assurances, the phrases and declarations of the bour- 
geoisie on the subject of peace without annexations, and so on. 

And the arrest of Trotsky by the British Government? 
And the refusal to allow Martov to leave Switzerland, and 
the attempt to lure him to Britain, where Trotsky's fate 
awaits him? 

Let us harbour no illusions. We must not deceive our- 
selves. 

To "wait" for international congresses or conferences is 
simply to betray internationalism, since it has been shown 
that even from Stockholm neither socialists loyal to inter- 
nationalism nor even their letters are allowed to come here, 
although this is quite possible and although a ferocious 
military censorship exists. 

Our Party must not "wait", but must immediately found 
a Third International. Hundreds of socialists imprisoned in 
Germany and Britain will then heave a sigh of relief, 
thousands and thousands of German workers who are now 
holding strikes and demonstrations that are frightening that 
scoundrel and brigand, Wilhelm, will learn from illegal 
leaflets of our decision, of our fraternal confidence in Karl 
Liebknecht, and in him alone, of our decision to fight 
"revolutionary defencism" even now; they will read this and 
be strengthened in their revolutionary internationalism. 

To whom much is given, of him much is required. No 
other country in the world is as free as Russia is now. Let 
us make use of this freedom, not to advocate support for 
the bourgeoisie, or bourgeois "revolutionary defencism", 
but in a bold, honest, proletarian, Liebknecht way to 



84 



V. I. LENIN 



found the Third International, an International uncompro- 
misingly hostile both to the social-chauvinist traitors and to 
the vacillating "Centrists". 

18. After what has been said, there is no need to waste 
many words explaining that the amalgamation of Social- 
Democrats in Russia is out of the question. 

It is better to remain with one friend only, like Lieb- 
knecht, and that means remaining with the revolutionary 
proletariat, than to entertain even for a moment any 
thought of amalgamation with the party of the Organising 
Committee, with Chkheidze and Tsereteli, who can tolerate 
a bloc with Potresov in Rabochaya Gazeta, who voted for the 
loan in the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' 
Deputies, 50 and who have sunk to "defencism". 

Let the dead bury their dead. 

Whoever wants to help the waverers must first stop waver- 
ing himself. 



WHAT SHOULD BE THE NAME OF OUR PARTY— ONE 
THAT WILL BE CORRECT SCIENTIFICALLY 
AND HELP TO CLARIFY THE MIND 
OF THE PROLETARIAT POLITICALLY? 

19. I now come to the final point, the name of our Party. 
We must call ourselves the Communist Party — just as 
Marx and Engels called themselves. 

We must repeat that we are Marxists and that we take 
as our basis the Communist Manifesto, which has been 
distorted and betrayed by the Social-Democrats on two main 
points: (1) the working men have no country: "defence of 
the fatherland" in an imperialist war is a betrayal of so- 
cialism; and (2) the Marxist doctrine of the state has been 
distorted by the Second International. 

The name "Social-Democracy" is scientifically incorrect, 
as Marx frequently pointed out, in particular, in the Cri- 
tique of the Gotha Programme in 1875, and as Engels re- 
affirmed in a more popular form in 1894. 51 From capitalism 
mankind can pass directly only to socialism, i.e., to the 
social ownership of the means of production and the dis- 
tribution of products according to the amount of work 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



85 



performed by each individual. Our Party looks farther ahead: 
socialism must inevitably evolve gradually into communism, 
upon the banner of which is inscribed the motto, "From each 
according to his ability, to each according to his needs". 
That is my first argument. 

Here is the second: the second part of the name of our 
Party (Social-Democrats) is also scientifically incorrect. 
Democracy is a form of state, whereas we Marxists are 
opposed to every kind of state. 

The leaders of the Second International (1889-1914), 
Plekhanov, Kautsky and their like, have vulgarised and 
distorted Marxism. 

Marxism differs from anarchism in that it recognises 
the need for a state for the purpose of the transition to so- 
cialism; but (and here is where we differ from Kautsky 
and Co.) not a state of the type of the usual parliamentary 
bourgeois-democratic republic, but a state like the Paris 
Commune of 1871 and the Soviets of Workers' Deputies of 
1905 and 1917. 

My third argument: living reality, the revolution, has 
already actually established in our country, albeit in a 
weak and embryonic form, precisely this new type of "state", 
which is not a state in the proper sense of the word. 

This is already a matter of the practical action of the 
people, and not merely a theory of the leaders. 

The state in the proper sense of the term is domination 
over the people by contingents of armed men divorced from 
the people. 

Our emergent, new state is also a state, for we too need 
contingents of armed men, we too need the strictest order, 
and must ruthlessly crush by force all attempts at either a 
tsarist or a Guchkov-bourgeois counter-revolution. 

But our emergent, new state is no longer a state in the 
proper sense of the term, for in some parts of Russia these 
contingents of armed men are the masses themselves, the en- 
tire people, and not certain privileged persons placed over 
the people, and divorced from the people, and for all 
practical purposes undisplaceable. 

We must look forward, and not backward to the usual 
bourgeois type of democracy, which consolidated the rule 
of the bourgeoisie with the aid of the old, monarchist 



86 



V. I. LENIN 



organs of administration, the police, the army and the 
bureaucracy. 

We must look forward to the emergent new democracy, 
which is already ceasing to be a democracy, for democracy 
means the domination of the people, and the armed people 
cannot dominate themselves. 

The term democracy is not only scientifically incorrect 
when applied to a Communist Party; it has now, since March 
1917, simply become blinkers put on the eyes of the revolution- 
ary people and preventing them from boldly and freely, 
on their own initiative, building up the new: the Soviets of 
Workers', Peasants', and all other Deputies, as the sole 
power in the "state" and as the harbinger of the "withering 
away" of the state in every form. 

My fourth argument: we must reckon with the actual 
situation in which socialism finds itself internationally. 

It is not what it was during the years 1871 to 1914, when 
Marx and Engels knowingly put up with the inaccurate, 
opportunist term Social-Democracy". For in those days, 
after the defeat of the Paris Commune, history made slow 
organisational and educational work the task of the day. 
Nothing else was possible. The anarchists were then (as they 
are now) fundamentally wrong not only theoretically, but 
also economically and politically. The anarchists mis- 
judged the character of the times, for they failed to understand 
the world situation: the worker of Britain corrupted by 
imperialist profits, the Commune defeated in Paris, the 
recent (1871) triumph of the bourgeois national movement in 
Germany, the age-long sleep of semi-feudal Russia. 

Marx and Engels gauged the times accurately; they 
understood the international situation; they understood 
that the approach to the beginning of the social revolution 
must be slow. 

We, in our turn, must also understand the specific fea- 
tures and tasks of the new era. Let us not imitate those 
sorry Marxists of whom Marx said: "I have sown dragon's 
teeth and harvested fleas." 52 

The objective inevitability of capitalism which grew 
into imperialism brought about the imperialist war. The war 
has brought mankind to the brink of a precipice, to the 
brink of the destruction of civilisation, of the brutalisation 



TASKS OF PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION 



87 



and destruction of more millions, countless millions, of 
human beings. 

The only way out is through a proletarian revolution. 

At the very moment when such a revolution is beginning, 
when it is taking its first hesitant, groping steps, steps 
betraying too great a confidence in the bourgeoisie, at such 
a moment the majority (that is the truth, that is a fact) of 
the "Social-Democratic" leaders, of the "Social-Democratic" 
parliamentarians, of the "Social-Democratic" newspapers — 
and these are precisely the organs that influence the people — 
have deserted socialism, have betrayed socialism and have 
gone over to the side of "their own" national bourgeoisie. 

The people have been confused, led astray and deceived 
by these leaders. 

And we shall aid and abet that deception if we retain 
the old and out-of-date Party name, which is as decayed as 
the Second International! 

Granted that "many" workers understand Social-Democracy 
in an honest way; but it is time to learn how to distinguish 
the subjective from the objective. 

Subjectively, such Social-Democratic workers are most 
loyal leaders of the proletarians. 

Objectively, however, the world situation is such that 
the old name of our Party makes it easier to fool the people 
and impedes the onward march; for at every step, in every 
paper, in every parliamentary group, the masses see leaders, 
i.e., people whose voices carry farthest and whose actions 
are most conspicuous; yet they are all "would-be Social- 
Democrats", they are all "for unity" with the betrayers 
of socialism, with the social-chauvinists; and they are all 
presenting for payment the old bills issued by "Social- 
Democracy".... 

And what are the arguments against?... We'll be confused 
with the Anarchist-Communists, they say.... 

Why are we not afraid of being confused with the So- 
cial-Nationalists, the Social-Liberals, or the Radical- 
Socialists, the foremost bourgeois party in the French 
Republic and the most adroit in the bourgeois deception 
of the people?... We are told: The people are used to it, 
the workers have come to "love" their Social-Democratic 
Party. 



88 



V. I. LENIN 



That is the only argument. But it is an argument that 
dismisses the science of Marxism, the tasks of the morrow 
in the revolution, the objective position of world socialism, 
the shameful collapse of the Second International, and the 
harm done to the practical cause by the packs of "would-be 
Social-Democrats" who surround the proletarians. 

It is an argument of routinism, an argument of inertia, 
an argument of stagnation. 

But we are out to rebuild the world. We are out to put an 
end to the imperialist world war into which hundreds of mil- 
lions of people have been drawn and in which the interests 
of billions and billions of capital are involved, a war which 
cannot end in a truly democratic peace without the greatest 
proletarian revolution in the history of mankind. 

Yet we are afraid of our own selves. We are loth to cast 
off the "dear old" soiled shirt.... 

But it is time to cast off the soiled shirt and to put on 
clean linen. 

Petrograd, April 10, 1917 



POSTSCRIPT 



89 



POSTSCRIPT 

My pamphlet has become out of date owing to the general 
economic disorganisation and the inefficiency of the St. 
Petersburg presses. The pamphlet was written on April 10, 
1917, today is May 28, and it has not come out yet! 

It was written as a draft platform to propagandise my 
views before the All-Russia Conference of our Party, the 
Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party of Bolsheviks. 
The pamphlet was typed in several copies and handed out to 
Party members before and during the Conference so that it 
did its job in part. But the Conference took place from April 
24 to April 29, 1917, its resolutions have long since been 
published (see supplement to Soldatskaya Pravda No. 13 53 ) 
and the attentive reader will have noticed that my pamphlet 
often served as the original draft of those resolutions. 

It is left for me to express the hope that the pamphlet 
will still be of some value because of its connection with 
those resolutions and because it explains them, and to deal 
here with two points. 

I suggested on page 27 that we remain in Zimmerwald 
only for purposes of information.* The Conference did not 
agree with me on this point, and I had to vote against the 
resolution on the International. It is now becoming obvious 
that the Conference made a mistake and that the course 
taken by events will soon correct it. By remaining in Zim- 
merwald we (even against our will) are helping delay the 
creation of the Third International; we are indirectly hamper- 
ing its foundation, being burdened with the dead ballast of 
the ideologically and politically dead Zimmerwald. 



See p. 82 of this volume. — Ed. 



90 



V. I. LENIN 



In the eyes of the working-class parties of the whole world, 
our Party's position is now such that it is our duty to found 
a Third International without delay. Today there is nobody 
but us to do it, and procrastination can only do harm. If 
we remain in Zimmerwald for information only, we shall 
have our hands freed to establish the new International 
(and at the same time be able to use Zimmerwald should 
circumstances make it possible). 

Because of the mistake made by the Conference, we must 
now wait passively, at least until July 5, 1917 (the date 
set for the Zimmerwald Conference, provided it is not post- 
poned again\ It has already been postponed once...). 

The decision unanimously adopted by the Central Com- 
mittee of our Party after the Conference and published in 
Pravda No. 55, on May 12, has, however, gone half-way 
towards correcting the mistake; it has been resolved that 
we shall walk out of Zimmerwald if they decide to confer 
with ministers.* I express the hope that the other half of 
the mistake will be speedily remedied, as soon as we convene 
the first international conference of Lefts (the "third trend", 
the "internationalists in deed", see above, pp. 23-25**). 

The second point I must deal with is the formation of 
the "coalition cabinet" on May 6, 1917. 54 On this point the 
pamphlet may seem to be particularly out of date. 

But actually on this of all points it is not out of date at 
all. It is based wholly on the class analysis, a thing that the 
Mensheviks and Narodniks, who have provided six minis- 
ters as hostages to the ten capitalist ministers, stand in 
deadly fear of. And it is because the pamphlet is based wholly 
on a class analysis that it is not out of date — the only change 
made by Tsereteli, Chernov and Co. joining the cabinet was an 
insignificant one in the form of the agreement between the 
Petrograd Soviet and the capitalist government, and I 
deliberately stressed in my pamphlet (on page 8) that "I am 
referring not so much to the formal agreement as to actual 
support".*** 

With each passing day it is becoming clearer that Tse- 
reteli, Chernov and Co. are nothing more than hostages to 

* See p. 388 of this volume.— Ed. 
**See pp. 77-80 of this volume.— Ed. 
***See p. 62 of this volume.— Ed. 



POSTSCRIPT 



91 



the capitalists, that the "renewed" government is neither 
willing nor able to carry out any of its abundant promises 
either in foreign or domestic policies. Chernov, Tsereteli 
and Co. have committed political suicide by turning into 
assistants of the capitalists, into people who are actually 
strangling the revolution; Kerensky has come so low as to 
use force against the masses (cf. p. 9 of the pamphlet: "Guch- 
kov is still only threatening to employ violence against 
the mass"* but Kerensky had to carry out those threats 55 ). 
Chernov, Tsereteli and Co. have killed themselves and 
their parties — the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolution- 
aries — politically. The people will realise this more and more 
clearly as the days go by. 

The coalition cabinet is only a passing moment in the 
development of the fundamental class contradictions of our 
revolution briefly analysed in the pamphlet. This situation 
cannot last long — we must either go backward to counter- 
revolution all along the line or forward to the transfer of 
state power to other classes. At a time of revolution, when 
the imperialist world war is in progress, we cannot stand 
still. 

N. Lenin 

St. Petersburg, May 28, 1917 



See p. 63 of this volume.— Ed. 



POLITICAL PARTIES IN RUSSIA 
AND THE TASKS OF THE PROLETARIAT 



Published May 6, 9 and 10 
(April 23, 26 and 27), 1917 
in the newspaper Volna 
Nos. 20, 22 and 23 
Published in pamphlet form 
in July 1917 by Zhizn 
Znaniye Publishers. 



Published according 
to the pamphlet text, 1917 
edition, verified with 
the 1918 edition 



95 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

This pamphlet was written at the beginning of April 
1917, before the coalition cabinet was formed. Since then 
much water has flown under the bridge, but the principal 
characteristics of the major political parties have held 
true in the course of all subsequent stages of the revolu- 
tion — both during the coalition cabinet, which came into 
being on May 6, 1917, during the union between the Menshe- 
viks and Socialist-Revolutionaries in June (and July) 1917 
against the Bolsheviks, during the Kornilov events, and 
during the October Revolution of 1917 and after it. 

The Correctness of the characteristic given to the princi- 
pal parties and their class foundations has been borne out by 
the whole course of the Russian revolution. Today the prog- 
ress of the revolution in Western Europe shows that there, 
too, the line-up of the principal parties is the same. The role 
of Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries is being 
played by the social-chauvinists of all countries (socialists 
in word and chauvinists in deed) as well as by the Kautsky- 
ites in Germany, the Longuetists in France, and so on. 

N. Lenin 

Moscow, October 22, 1918 

Published in 1918 in the pamphlet: Published according 

N. Lenin, Political Parties in Russia to the pamphlet text 

and the Tasks of the Proletariat , 
Kommunist Publishing House, Moscow 



96 



V. I. LENIN 



The following is an attempt to formulate, first, the more 
important and then the less important questions and answers 
characterising the present political situation in Russia and 
the way it is understood by the various parties. 



QUESTIONS: 

1) WHAT ARE THE CHIEF POLITICAL 
PARTY GROUPINGS IN RUSSIA? 

ANSWERS: 

A. (to the right of the CD.). Parties and groups to the 
right of the Constitutional-Democrats. 

B. (CD.). The Constitutional-Democratic Party (Cadets, 
or the people's freedom party) and kindred groups. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). The Social-Democrats, the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and kindred groups. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). The party which properly should be 
called the Communist Party, but which at present is named 
the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party united under 
the Central Committee or, popularly, the "Bolsheviks". 

2) WHAT CLASSES DO THESE PARTIES REPRESENT? 
WHAT CLASS STANDPOINT DO THEY EXPRESS? 

A. (to the right of the CD.). The feudalist landowners 
and the most backward sections of the bourgeoisie (capi- 
talists). 

B. (CD.). The bourgeoisie as a whole, that is, the capi- 
talist class, and the landowners who have become bourgeois, 
i.e., who have become capitalists. 



POLITICAL PARTIES IN RUSSIA AND TASKS OF PROLETARIAT 97 



C. (S.D. and S.R.). Small proprietors, small and middle 
peasants, the petty bourgeoisie, and that section of the 
workers which has come under the influence of the bourgeoi- 
sie. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). Class-conscious proletarians, wage- 
workers and the poor peasantry (semi-proletarians) standing 
close to them. 

3) WHAT IS THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARDS SOCIALISM? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). Decidedly 
hostile, since it threatens the profits of the capitalists and 
landowners. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). For socialism, but it is too early to 
think of it or to take any immediate practical steps for its 
realisation. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). For socialism. The Soviets must imme- 
diately take all possible practicable steps for its realisa- 
tion.* 

4) WHAT FORM OF GOVERNMENT DO THEY WANT AT PRESENT? 

A. (to the right of the CD.). A constitutional monarchy, 
the absolute power of the bureaucracy and the police. 

B. (CD.). A bourgeois parliamentary republic, i.e., 
the consolidation of the rule of the capitalists, while retain- 
ing the old bureaucracy and the police. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). A bourgeois parliamentary republic, 
with reforms for the workers and peasants. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). A republic of Soviets of Workers', 
Soldiers', Peasants', and other Deputies. Abolition of the 
standing army and the police, who are to be replaced by the 
arming of the whole people; officials to be not only elective, 
but also displaceable; their pay not to exceed that of a 
competent worker. 

5) WHAT IS THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARDS RESTORATION 
OF THE ROMANOV MONARCHY? 

A. (to the right of the CD.). They are for it, but act 
covertly and cautiously, for they are afraid of the 
people. 



* For the nature of these steps, see questions 20 and 22. 



98 



V. I. LENIN 



B. (CD.). When the Guchkovs seemed to be a power, the 
Cadets were for putting a brother or the son of Nicholas on 
the throne; but when the people began to seem a power, the 
Cadets became anti-monarchist. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.) and D. ("Bolsheviks"). Decidedly 
opposed to restoration of the monarchy in any form. 

6) WHAT IS THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SEIZURE OF POWER? 
WHAT DO THEY REGARD AS ORDER, AND WHAT AS ANARCHY? 

A. (to the right of the CD.). If a tsar or some gallant 
general seizes power, that is God-given, that is order. All 
else is anarchy. 

B. (CD.). If the capitalists seize power, even by force, 
that is order; to seize power against the capitalists would 
be anarchy. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). If the Soviets alone seize all the power, 
that means a threat of anarchy. Let the capitalists keep the 
power for the time being, and the Soviets keep the "Contact 
Commission". 57 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). All power must be in the hands of the 
Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', Agricultural La- 
bourers' and other Deputies. All propaganda, agitation and 
the organisation of the millions must immediately be di- 
rected towards this end.* 

7) SHOULD THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT BE SUPPORTED? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B, (CD.). Unquestiona- 
bly, since it is the only government capable at this moment of 
safeguarding the interests of the capitalists. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). It should, but on condition that it 
carries out its agreement with the Soviet and attends the 
meetings of the Contact Commission. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). No; let the capitalists support it. Our 
job is to prepare the people for full and undivided power 
wielded by the Soviets. 



* Anarchy is the complete negation of state power, whereas the 
Soviets are themselves a state power. 



POLITICAL PARTIES IN RUSSIA AND TASKS OF PROLETARIAT 99 



8) FOR UNDIVIDED POWER OR DUAL POWER? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). For the undi- 
vided power of the capitalists and landowners. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). For dual power. The Soviets to 
exercise "control" over the Provisional Government. It is 
bad to reflect whether control can be effective without 
power. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). For the undivided power of the Soviets 
from the bottom up all over the country. 

9) SHOULD A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY BE CONVENED? 

A. (to the right of the CD.). No, for it might prejudice 
the landowners. You never know — the peasants in the Con- 
stituent Assembly may decide that the landowners ought 
to have their estates taken away from them. 

B. (CD.). Yes, but without fixing a date. As much time 
as possible should be spent consulting professors of law; 
first, because, as Bebel said, jurists are the most reactionary 
people in the world; and, second, because the experience of 
all revolutions has shown that the cause of popular freedom is 
lost when it is entrusted to professors. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). Yes, and as quickly as possible. A 
date must be fixed; we have already said so two hundred 
times at the meetings of the Contact Commission, and shall 
say so again tomorrow, for the last and two-hundred-and- 
first time. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). Yes, and as soon as possible. But there 
is only one way to assure its convocation and success, and 
that is by increasing the number and strength of the So- 
viets and organising and arming the working-class masses. 
That is the only guarantee. 

10) DOES THE STATE NEED THE USUAL TYPE OF POLICE 
AND A STANDING ARMY? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). It certainly 
does, for they are the only firm guarantee of the rule of the 
capitalists; in case of need, as the experience of all coun- 
tries has shown, the return from a republic to a monarchy is 
thus greatly facilitated. 



100 



V. I. LENIN 



C. (S.D. and S.R.). On the one hand, they are perhaps 
not necessary. On the other hand, is not so radical a change 
premature? However, we shall raise the matter in the Con- 
tact Commission. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). It definitely does not. The arming of 
the entire people must be proceeded with everywhere imme- 
diately and unreservedly, and they must be merged with 
the militia and the army. The capitalists must pay the 
workers for days served in the militia. 

11) DOES THE STATE NEED A BUREAUCRACY OF THE USUAL TYPE? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). Most decided- 
ly. Nine-tenths of them are the sons and brothers of land- 
owners and capitalists. They must continue to remain 
a privileged and, in practice, permanent body of people. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). It is hardly fitting to raise so hastily 
a question that was raised practically by the Paris Commune. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). It certainly does not. All officials and 
all and every kind of deputy must not only be elective, but 
displaceable at any moment. Their pay must not exceed that 
of a competent worker. They must be replaced (gradually) 
by the people's militia and its detachments. 

12) SHOULD OFFICERS BE ELECTED BY THE SOLDIERS? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). No. That would 
be detrimental to the landowners and capitalists. If the 
soldiers cannot be pacified otherwise, they must be tempo- 
rarily promised this reform, but it must be withdrawn at the 
earliest possible moment. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). Yes, they should. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). Not only must they be elected, but 
every step of every officer and general must be supervised 
by persons specially elected for the purpose by the soldiers. 

13) IS IT DESIRABLE FOR THE SOLDIERS 
ON THEIR OWN DECISION, 
TO DISPLACE THEIR SUPERIORS? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). It is distinct- 
ly harmful. Guchkov has already forbidden it. He has al- 
ready threatened to use force. Guchkov must be supported. 



POLITICAL PARTIES IN RUSSIA AND TASKS OF PROLETARIAT 101 



C. (S.D. and S.R.). It is. But it is not clear whether they 
should be replaced before the matter is taken up with the 
Contact Commission, or vice versa. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). It is desirable and essential in every 
way. The soldiers will obey and respect only elected 
authorities. 

14) FOR OR AGAINST THE PRESENT WAR? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). Decidedly for, 
because it yields the capitalists untold profits and promises 
to consolidate their rule by disuniting the workers and set- 
ting them against one another. We shall fool the workers by 
calling the war a war for national defence, the real object 
of which is to dethrone Wilhelm. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). In general we are opposed to imperial- 
ist wars, but we are willing to be fooled, and are prepared 
to call the support given to the imperialist war waged by the 
imperialist government of Guchkov, Milyukov and Co. 
"revolutionary defencism". 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). We are decidedly against all imperial- 
ist wars and all bourgeois governments waging such wars, 
including our own Provisional Government; we are decid- 
edly against "revolutionary defencism" in Russia. 

15) FOR OR AGAINST THE PREDATORY INTERNATIONAL 
TREATIES BETWEEN THE TSAR, GREAT BRITAIN, 
FRANCE, ETC. (FOR THE SUBJUGATION OF PERSIA, 
THE PARTITION OF CHINA, TURKEY, AUSTRIA, ETC.)? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). Absolutely 
and entirely for. At the same time, we must not publish 
these treaties, both because Anglo-French imperialist capi- 
tal and its governments will not permit it, and because 
Russian capital cannot afford to reveal its shady affairs to 
the public. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). Against, but we still hope that with 
the aid of the Contact Commission and a series of "campaigns" 
among the masses, it may be possible to "influence" the capi- 
talist government. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). Against. The whole point is to enlight- 
en the masses as to the utter hopelessness of expecting any- 



102 



V. I. LENIN 



thing in this respect from capitalist governments, and as to 
the necessity of the power being transferred to the proletar- 
iat and the poor peasants. 

16) FOR OR AGAINST ANNEXATIONS? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). If it is a 
question of annexations by the German capitalists and 
their robber chieftain, WiLhelm, we are against. If by the 
British, we are not against, for they are "our" Allies. If 
by our capitalists, who are forcibly keeping within the bound- 
aries of Russia the peoples who were oppressed by the tsar, 
we are in favour; we do not call that annexation. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). Against annexations, but we still 
hope it will be possible to secure even from the capitalist 
government a promise to renounce annexations. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). Against annexations. All promises 
on the part of capitalist governments to renounce annexations 
are a sheer fraud. There is only one method of exposing it, 
namely, to demand the liberation of the peoples oppressed 
by their own capitalists. 

17) FOR OR AGAINST THE LIBERTY LOAN? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). Decidedly 
for, since it facilitates the conduct of the imperialist war, 
that is, a war to determine which group of capitalists shall 
rule the world. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.); For, since the incorrect stand of 
"revolutionary defencism" forces us into this obvious depar- 
ture from internationalism. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). Against, since the war remains an im- 
perialist war, waged by the capitalists in alliance with the 
capitalists and in the interests of the capitalists. 

18) FOR OR AGAINST THE CAPITALIST GOVERNMENTS 
ASCERTAINING THE PEOPLES' WILL TO PEACE? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). For, since the 
experience of the French republican social-chauvinists was 
excellent proof that the people can be fooled in this way; we 
can say anything we like, but in practice we shall keep the 



POLITICAL PARTIES IN RUSSIA AND TASKS OF PROLETARIAT 103 



spoils seized from the Germans (their colonies), while de- 
priving the German robbers of the spoils they have seized. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). For, since we have not yet relin- 
quished a good many of the unfounded hopes placed by the 
petty bourgeoisie in the capitalists. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). Against, since the class-conscious 
workers place no hopes whatever in the capitalists, and it is 
our task to open the eyes of the masses to the futility of such 
hopes. 

19) MUST ALL MONARCHIES BE ABOLISHED? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). No; the Brit- 
ish, Italian and Allied monarchies generally must not be 
abolished, but only the German, Austrian, Turkish, and 
Bulgarian, since victory over them will multiply our 
profits. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). A certain "sequence" must be ob- 
served, and in any case we should begin with Wilhelm; as to 
the Allied monarchies, we had perhaps better wait a bit. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). No sequence can be established for 
revolutions. We must help only the revolutionaries in deed 
to abolish all monarchies in all countries without excep- 
tion. 

20) SHALL THE PEASANTS TAKE ALL 
THE LANDED ESTATES IMMEDIATELY? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.) By no means. 
We must wait for the Constituent Assembly. Shingaryov 
has already explained that when the capitalists seize power 
from the tsar, that is a great and glorious revolution; but 
when the peasants take the land away from the landowners, 
that is arbitrary action. 58 Conciliation commissions must be 
appointed on which landowners and peasants shall be equally 
represented, while the chairmen shall be officials, that is, 
people drawn from among the capitalists and landowners. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). Better the peasants waited for the 
Constituent Assembly. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). All the land must be taken over imme- 
diately. Order must be strictly maintained by the Soviets 
of Peasants' Deputies. More grain and meat must be produced, 



104 



V. I. LENIN 



and the soldiers better fed. Injury and damage to livestock, 
implements, etc., must in no case be permitted. 

21) CAN WE LEAVE LAND DISPOSAL 
AND ALL RURAL AFFAIRS IN THE HANDS 
OF THE SOVIETS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES ALONE? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). The land- 
owners and capitalists are generally opposed to full and 
undivided power being vested in the Soviets of Peasants' Dep- 
uties in the countryside; but if these Soviets are unavoid- 
able, then we had better confine ourselves to them alone, 
for the rich peasants are also capitalists. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). For the present, perhaps, yes, 
although Social-Democrats "in principle" do not deny the 
necessity of a separate organisation for the agricultural 
wage-workers. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). We cannot confine ourselves to the 
general Soviets of Peasants' Deputies alone, for the wealthy 
peasants are also capitalists and are always liable to wrong 
or cheat the agricultural labourers, day-labourers, and poor 
peasants. Therefore separate organisations for these groups 
of the rural population must be set up immediately both 
within the Soviets of Peasants' Deputies and as separate 
Soviets of deputies from the agricultural labourers. 

22) SHALL THE PEOPLE TAKE OVER THE LARGEST 
AND MOST POWERFUL CAPITALIST MONOPOLIES, 
THE BANKS, THE SYNDICATES OF MANUFACTURERS, ETC.? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). On no account, 
as this might injure the landowners and capitalists. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). Generally speaking, we are in fa- 
vour of transferring such organisations to the entire people, 
but it is too early just now to think of this or prepare for it. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). We must at once start preparing the 
Soviets of Workers' Deputies, the Councils of Bank Employ- 
ees' Deputies, etc., for taking practical and practicable 
steps towards merging all banks into a single national bank, 
to be followed by the establishment of control by the So- 
viets of Workers' Deputies over the banks and syndicates, 
and then by their nationalisation, i.e., their transfer to 
the possession of the whole people. 



POLITICAL PARTIES IN RUSSIA AND TASKS OF PROLETARIAT 105 



23) WHAT KIND OF SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL 
IMPLEMENTING A FRATERNAL UNION 
OF THE WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES 
DO THE PEOPLES NOW NEED? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). Generally 
speaking, any kind of Socialist International is harmful 
and dangerous to the capitalists and landowners; but if the 
German Plekhanov, that is, Scheidemann, comes to an 
agreement and understanding with the Russian Scheidemann, 
that is, Plekhanov, and if they discover in each other ves- 
tiges of a socialist conscience, then it were perhaps better for 
us capitalists to welcome such an International of such 
socialists who take the side of their own respective govern- 
ments. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). We need a Socialist International 
that will unite everybody: the Scheidemanns, the Plekha- 
novs and the "Centrists", i.e., those who vacillate between 
social-chauvinism and internationalism. The greater the 
hotchpotch, the greater the "unity". Long live the great 
socialist unity! 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). The peoples need only such an Interna- 
tional as will unite the really revolutionary workers, who 
are capable of putting an end to this frightful, criminal 
slaughter of the peoples and of delivering humanity from 
the yoke of capital. Only people (groups, parties, etc.) 
like the German Socialist Karl Liebknecht, who is now in a 
convict prison, only people who are resolutely fighting their 
own government, their own bourgeoisie, their own social- 
chauvinists, their own "Centre", can and must establish 
immediately the International which the peoples need. 

24) SHOULD FRATERNISATION AT THE FRONT BETWEEN SOLDIERS 
OF THE BELLIGERENT COUNTRIES BE ENCOURAGED? 

A. (to the right of the CD.) and B. (CD.). No, it is 
bad for the interests of the landowners and capitalists, as it 
is likely to hasten the liberation of humanity from their 
yoke. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). Yes, it is desirable. But we are not 
all fully convinced that such an encouragement of fraterni- 
sation should be started immediately in all the belligerent 
countries. 



106 



V. I. LENIN 



D. ("Bolsheviks"). Yes, it is desirable and essential. 
It is absolutely essential to encourage immediately in all 
the belligerent countries attempts at fraternisation between 
the soldiers of both warring groups. 

25) WHAT COLOUR BANNER WOULD BE IN CHARACTER WITH 
THE VARIOUS POLITICAL PARTIES? 

A. (to the right of the CD.). Black, for they are the real 
Black Hundreds. 59 

B. (CD.). Yellow, for that is the international banner of 
workers who serve capitalism willingly, heart and soul. 

C. (S.D. and S.R.). Pink, for their whole policy is a 
rose-water one. 

D. ("Bolsheviks"). Red, for this is the banner of the in- 
ternational proletarian revolution. 



This pamphlet was written at the beginning of April 
1917. To the question whether it is out of date now, after 
May 6, 1917, after the formation of the "new", coalition, 
government, my answer is: No, for the Contact Commission 
has not really disappeared, it has merely moved to another 
room, which it shares with the gentlemen of the cabinet. 
The fact that the Chernovs and the Tseretelis have moved 
to another room has not changed their policy, nor the policy 
of their parties. 



107 



SPEECH DELIVERED AT A MEETING OF SOLDIERS 
OF THE IZMAILOVSKY REGIMENT 
APRIL 10 (23), 1917 

Comrade soldiers! The question of the state system is now 
on the order of the day. The capitalists, in whose hands the 
state power now rests, desire a parliamentary bourgeois 
republic, that is, a state system where there is no tsar, but 
where power remains in the hands of the capitalists who 
govern the country by means of the old institutions, namely: 
the police, the bureaucracy, and the standing army. 

We desire a different republic, one more in keeping with 
the interests of the people, more democratic. The revolu- 
tionary workers and soldiers of Petrograd have overthrown 
tsarism, and have cleaned out all the police from the capi- 
tal. The workers of all the world look with pride and hope 
to the revolutionary workers and soldiers of Russia as the 
vanguard of the world's liberating army of the working class. 
The revolution, once begun, must be strengthened and car- 
ried on. We shall not allow the police to be re-established! 
All power in the state, from the bottom up, from the remot- 
est little village to every street block of Petrograd, must 
belong to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Agricultural 
Labourers', Peasants' and other Deputies. The central state 
power uniting these local Soviets must be the Constituent 
Assembly, National Assembly, or Council of Soviets — 
no matter by what name you call it. 

Not the police, not the bureaucracy, who are unanswera- 
ble to the people and placed above the people, not the 
standing army, separated from the people, but the people 
themselves, universally armed and united in the Soviets, 



108 



V. I. LENIN 



must run the state. It is they who will establish the necessary 
order, it is they whose authority will not only be obeyed, 
but also respected, by the workers and peasants. 

Only this power, only the Soviets of Soldiers' and Peas- 
ants' Deputies, can solve the great question of the land in 
a non-bureaucratic way and not in the interests of the land- 
owners. The land must not belong to the landowners. The 
peasant committees must take the land away at once from 
the landowners, while carefully guarding all the property 
against damage, and seeing to it that grain production is 
increased in order that the soldiers at the front be better 
supplied. All the land must belong to the whole nation, and 
its disposal must be the concern of the local Soviets of 
Peasants' Deputies. In order that the rich peasants — who 
are themselves capitalists — may not wrong and deceive the 
agricultural labourers and the poor peasants, it will be 
necessary for the latter either to confer, to combine, to 
unite separately, or to set up Soviets of Agricultural 
Labourers' Deputies of their own. 

Do not allow the police to be re-established, do not let 
the state power or the administration of the state pass into 
the hands of the bureaucracy, who are non-elective, undis- 
placeable, and paid on a bourgeois scale; get together, unite, 
organise yourselves, trusting no one, depending only on 
your own intelligence and experience — and Russia will be 
able to move with a firm, measured, unerring tread toward 
the liberation of both our own country and of all humanity 
from the yoke of capital as well as from the horrors of war. 

Our government, a government of the capitalists, is con- 
tinuing the war in the interests of the capitalists. Like the 
German capitalists, headed by their crowned brigand Wil- 
helm, the capitalists of all the other countries are carrying 
on the war only for a division of capitalist profits, for domi- 
nation over the world. Hundreds of millions of people, al- 
most all the countries in the world, have been dragged into 
this criminal war. Hundreds of billions of capital have 
been invested in "profitable" undertakings, bringing death, 
hunger, ruin, and barbarism to the peoples and staggering, 
scandalously high profits to the capitalists. There is only 
one way to get out of this frightful war and conclude a 
truly democratic peace not imposed by force, and that is 



SPEECH AT A MEETING OF SOLDIERS 



109 



by transferring all the state power to the Soviets of Work- 
ers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The workers and poor peasants, 
who are not interested in preserving the profits of the capi- 
talists and robbing the weaker nations, will be able to do 
effectively what the capitalists only promise, namely, end 
the war by concluding a lasting peace that will assure 
liberty to all peoples without exception. 



Pravda No. 30, April 12, 1917 
Signed: N. Lenin 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



110 



A SHAMELESS LIE OF THE CAPITALISTS 

It is not enough that the capitalist newspapers lie and 
carry on a riot-mongering campaign against Pravda, that 
Rech vies in this respect with Russkaya Volya — a paper 
which it cannot but despise. 

Now the ministers of the capitalist government, too, have 
begun to speak in the language of Russkaya Volya. Rech 
quotes today Minister Nekrasov's statement made before a 
meeting of the Cadet Party in Moscow on April 9: 

"The preaching of violence that comes from the Kamennoostrovsky 
Prospekt is a terrible thing." 

Re-echoing Russkaya Volya, the worthy Minister lies 
shamelessly, deceives the people, and aids the riot-mongers 
while hiding behind their backs. He dares not name directly 
a single person, a single newspaper, a single orator, or a 
single party. 

The worthy Minister prefers dark hints — hoping that 
someone will fall for it! 

But all politically minded people will understand that 
the worthy Minister is referring to the organ of the Central 
Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., Pravda, and its followers. 

You are lying, Mr. Minister, worthy member of the 
"people's freedom" party. It is Mr. Guchkov who is preach- 
ing violence when he threatens to punish the soldiers for 
dismissing the authorities. It is Russkaya Volya, the riot- 
mongering newspaper of the riot-mongering "republicans", 
a paper that is friendly to you, that preaches violence. 

Pravda and its followers do not preach violence. On the 
contrary, they declare most clearly, precisely, and definite- 
ly that our main efforts should now be concentrated on 



A SHAMELESS LIE 



111 



explaining to the proletarian masses their proletarian prob- 
lems, as distinguished from the petty bourgeoisie which 
has succumbed to chauvinist intoxication. 

So long as you, capitalist gentlemen, Guchkov and Co., 
confine yourselves only to threats of violence, so long 
as you have not yet resorted to violence, so long as the 
Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies exist, so long 
as you have not yet carried out your threats against the 
Soviets (such threats, for example, have actually been 
printed by Mr. Milyukov's associate, Mr. Wilson, the Times 
correspondent), so long as you have not yet perpetrated vio- 
lence upon the masses, we Pravdists declare and reiterate 
that we regard the Soviets as the only possible form of 
government. 

So long as you, capitalist gentlemen, who are in control 
of the army command, have not yet begun to use violence, 
it is our tactics, the tactics of all Pravdists and of all our 
Party, to fight for influence among the proletarian masses, 
to fight for influence among the Soviets of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies, to show up the errors in their tactics, 
to show up all the falsity of the chauvinist ( = revolution- 
ary-defencist) intoxication. 

The worthy Minister Nekrasov knows this perfectly well, 
if only from the quotations which Rech itself was forced to 
print. The worthy Minister re-echoes Russkaya Volya; he 
is bent on preventing a calm demonstration of the truth by 
resorting to lies, slander, baiting, and threats. 

It won't work, Messrs. Nekrasovs! 

The workers and soldiers want to know the truth, they 
want to clear up for themselves the questions of war and 
peace, and state systems, and they will certainly do so. 

Written April 11 (24), 1917 

Published April 12, 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 30 to the newspaper text 



112 



THE WAR AND THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 



"We have nevertheless compelled the 
Provisional Government to renounce 
annexations." — From a speech by Y. Stek- 
lov, delivered at the Taurida Palace 
on April 4. 

"Whatever our attitude towards the 
slogan 'peace without annexations' may 
be, the principles accepted by all the 
Allies cannot be ignored." — From a speech 
by P. Milyukov (Rech, April 11). 



Step by step the leaders of the Provisional Government 
are revealing the true nature of their policy in regard to 
the war. The notorious declaration of the Provisional Gov- 
ernment contained, along with a verbal "renunciation" of 
annexations, a statement to the effect that "our" treaties 
with the British and the French governments remain valid. 
A couple of weeks later Rech, the organ of the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs, Mr. Milyukov, prints the following: 



MILYUKOV S STATEMENT 

While in Moscow, P. N. Milyukov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs 
made the following statement at a meeting of members of the people's 
freedom party: 

The declaration of the Provisional Government concerning the aims 
of the war contains not peace terms, but merely general principles 
which have already been repeatedly enunciated by various statesmen 
of our Allies. The peace terms can be worked out only with the consent 
of our Allies and in accordance with the London Convention. What- 
ever our attitude towards the slogan "peace without annexations" may 
be, the principles accepted by all the Allies concerning the reunifica- 



WAR AND PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 



113 



tion of Poland and Armenia and the gratification of the national 
aspirations of the Austrian Slavs, cannot be ignored. (Rech No. 83, 
April 11 (24), 1917.) 

This statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Milyu- 
kov, will, without doubt, make the round of the whole 
foreign press and intensify the military spirit in Germany. 
Milyukov is helping the German imperialists to work up 
chauvinist feeling in Germany; Milyukov is helping Wil- 
helm II to go through with this predatory war "to the end". 

Let us examine Mr. Milyukov's statement. The Provi- 
sional Government's declaration concerning the aims of the 
war (the same declaration which Y. Steklov, by a deplorable 
misunderstanding, calls renunciation of annexations) con- 
tains, says Milyukov, not peace terms, but "merely general 
principles which have already been repeatedly enunciated 
by various statesmen of our Allies". In plain language, this 
means that renunciation of annexations is merely a fine 
phrase, "general principles", words, words, words. These 
words have also been repeated any number of times by 
"our" Allies. The actual "peace" terms, however, are a dif- 
ferent matter entirely. 

A statesman — Bismarck, if I am not mistaken — once said 
that to accept a thing "in principle" means, in the language 
of diplomacy, to reject it in effect. The same with Milyukov. 
"In principle" he is against annexations, in effect he is for 
annexations. That is why he stands for war "to the end". 

Fine phrases are not yet peace terms, Mr. Milyukov 
tells us. 

What, then, are his peace terms? 

These terms are covered by the London Convention. Mr. 
Milyukov refers us to it. 

But who concluded that Convention? Tsar Nicholas II 
concluded it with the British and French capitalists! That 
means that the treaties concluded by the tsarist clique still 
remain in force. That means we are fighting for the sake of 
these predatory treaties concluded by the tsarist clique and 
the "Allied" bankers. 

Seizure of Polish, Armenian, and Austrian territories 
(this time Mr. Milyukov makes no mention of Constantino- 
ple) — this is what Mr. Milyukov's peace programme 
amounts to. 



114 



V. I. LENIN 



What will the leaders of the majority of the Soviet of 
Workers' Deputies say regarding this latest statement of 
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Milyukov? All they will 
do is "reprove" Milyukov for this statement of his in the 

name of the "Contact" Commission What has become of 

the "Provisional Governments renunciation of annexations", 
which Y. Steklov and N. Chkheidze claim to have obtained 
from it? 

There is no dual power in Russia. The Soviet of Work- 
ers' Deputies merely exercises a benevolent control over 
the Provisional Government. This, if we are to believe the 
newspaper reports, is what N. Chkheidze said at the military 
conference in Minsk. 60 

This is what we have come to with this benevolent con- 
trol! People who fan the flames of war are continuing to 
speak in the name of Russia. The workers and soldiers 
are being fed with platitudes about peace without annexa- 
tions, while on the quiet a policy is being pursued which 
benefits only a small clique of millionaires who thrive on 
war. 

Comrades, workers and soldiers! Read this statement of 
Milyukov and expose it at all your meetings! Make it un- 
derstood that you do not wish to die for the sake of secret 
conventions concluded by Tsar Nicholas II, and which are 
still sacred to Milyukov! 



Pravda No. 31, April 13, 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



115 



IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF R US SKA YA VOLYA 

The methods of Russkaya Volya, a paper from which even 
the Cadets turn away in disgust, find an increasing number 
of imitators. Look at Mr. Plekhanov's Yedinstvo. Intent 
on "exposing" Pravda, Mr. Plekhanov takes Lenin's first 
thesis, quotes the words saying that the war on Russia's 
part remains a predatory imperialist war, and then trium- 
phantly asks: 

"And how about Germany? Lenin says nothing about that." 

This, literally, is what he writes. The reader can scarcely 
believe the evidence of his own eyes. Can it be that Mr. 
Plekhanov has sunk to the level of Novoye Vremya and 
Russkaya Volya? Believe it or not, but the fact stares you in 
the face. 

Mr. Plekhanov's shamelessness knows no bounds. He is 
perfectly familiar with the Bolshevik literature published 
abroad. He knows perfectly well that all Bolsheviks, times 
without number, in their speeches, articles, and resolutions, 
have always declared that the war on the part of Germany 
was just as predatory and imperialist as it was on the part 
of the other belligerent "Great" Powers. The German capi- 
talists, and their chieftain, the crowned brigand Wilhelm, 
are the same imperialist predators as the capitalists of other 
countries are. 

We repeat: no intelligent person who knows anything at 
all about the Bolsheviks can help knowing that this is our 
point of view. Mr. Plekhanov, too, knows this perfectly well. 
He knows that Zinoviev's and Lenin's pamphlet, Socialism 
and War.* was published in Switzerland also in the German 



See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 295-338.— Ed. 



116 



V. I. LENIN 



language, and smuggled into Germany. And that pamphlet 
states as blunt as blunt can be that Germany is carrying on 
a predatory war for the purpose of "plundering competitor 
countries", that Germany is "a young and strong robber" , 
that "the German imperialists have brazenly violated the neu- 
trality of Belgium, as belligerent states have done always 
and everywhere, trampling upon all treaties and obligations 
if necessary"; that "Kautsky reconciles in an unprincipled 
way the fundamental idea of social-chauvinism — recognition 
of defence of the fatherland in the present war — with a 
sham concession to the Lefts"; that "opportunist-chauvinists 
have nowhere sunk to such foul apostasy as in Germany". 

Mr. Plekhanov knows all this perfectly well, yet he sinks 
to the methods of Novoye Vremya and Russkaya Volya, and 
tries to paint the followers of Pravda as Germanophiles. 

Making a mockery of Marxism, Mr. Plekhanov further 
quibbles over the question as to who declared war on whom. 

Mr. Plekhanov has forgotten that Marxists regard war 
as a continuation of the policies pursued by definite govern- 
ments representing definite classes. 

That both Nicholas II and Wilhelm II represented the 
reactionary and capitalist classes of their respective coun- 
tries, that during the last few decades both had been pursuing 
a policy of plundering foreign countries, plundering China, 
subjugating Persia, carving up and partitioning Turkey, 
is a well-known fact. Had Mr. Plekhanov touched, however 
lightly, upon the history of diplomacy and foreign policies 
during the last few decades, he could not have failed to see 
this, and would not have dared to deny it. 

The war waged by Nicholas II and Wilhelm II has been 
just the continuation of this predatory imperialist policy, 
which is so closely bound up with the banking capital of the 
two countries. 

And when war is waged between two groups of predators 
and oppressors merely for division of the spoils of plunder, 
merely to see who will strangle more peoples, who will grab 
more, the question as to who began this war, who was the 
first to declare it and so forth, is of no economic or political 
significance. 

Mr. Plekhanov, just like the German Plekhanovs, the 
Scheidemanns and Co., has descended to the level of the 



IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF RUSSKAYA VOLYA 



117 



most vulgar and ordinary bourgeois chauvinist who refuses 
to see (if he ever did see) that war is a continuation of 
policy, that war and policy are bound up with the interests 
of definite classes, and that one must be able to understand 
who these classes are and what they are fighting for. 

A vicious, shameless lie, a screen for the predatory policy 
of Nicholas II — a policy which has not been abandoned 
by Lvov and Co. (they have even confirmed the tsar's trea- 
ties!) — that is what Mr. Plekhanov's great wisdom amounts 
to. 

This lie will mislead neither the class-conscious workers 
nor the class-conscious soldiers. 



Pravda No. 31, April 13, 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



118 



A PARTNERSHIP OF LIES 

A popular method always used by the bourgeois press 
in every country with unerring effect is to lie, scream, raise 
a hullabaloo, and keep on reiterating lies on the off-chance 
that "something may stick". 

"Lenin makes a great noise in the Kshesinskaya mansion," 
writes Rech. "Lenin addresses a meeting from the roof of 
the Modern," a number of newspapers report. 

All this is untrue. Lenin was not present at the Modern 
meeting. Lenin made no noise at all; he delivered only one 
report to a gathering of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, 61 
and published a number of short articles in the small news- 
paper Pravda. 

It is the capitalists and the capitalist press who are making 
a great noise, who are trying to shout down the truth, to 
prevent it from being heard, to drown it in a torrent of in- 
vective and shouts, to prevent an earnest elucidation of the 
facts. 

This is what the efforts of the capitalists add up to at the 
present moment, as do also the efforts of those so-called 
socialists who, like Mr. Plekhanov, have completely desert- 
ed to the capitalist side. 

In an editorial of special "national importance", today's 
Rech again fulminates against the "preaching of anarchy", 
and while doing so, most strikingly confutes itself. This is 
clear to anyone who ponders what he has read or heard. 

"The great revolution has swept away all the old organ- 
isation of power " This is not true. Not all of it, far from 

it. "It can be restored only by a change in the national psy- 
chology (in a broad sense of the word) — or rather, by the 
new psychology which recognises the need for authority and 
the duty of submission." 



A PARTNERSHIP OF LIES 



119 



We have here a patent lie, a patent partnership of lies 
contracted by the capitalists, on the one hand, and the 
Plekhanovs, Cherevanins and Co., who are shouting about 
anarchy, on the other. 

In conversational usage as well as in science it is accepted 
without question that anarchism means the negation of the 
state in the period of transition from capitalism to so- 
cialism. 

That socialism leads to the "withering away" of the state 
is one of the tenets of Marxism. The Milyukovs, Plekha- 
novs, Cherevanins and others, who are partners in lies, 
know this very well. 

Do the Pravdists or Lenin deny the need for the state 
now? Do they deny the need for an "organisation of power", 
the "duty of submission" to it? 

Anybody who knows his politics, anybody except the 
partnership of liars, is perfectly well aware that they do not. 

Both Pravda and Lenin have stated and repeated as 
clear as clear can be that all of us unreservedly recognise the 
need for the state and for an organisation of power not only 
for the present, but also for the later historical period when 
the transition from capitalism to socialism will be taking 
place. 

Only the partnership of lies can deny this, or fail to see it. 

The question is what "organisation of power" we propose 
to the nation. 

Not the old organisation of power, not the police, not 
the bureaucracy, not the standing army, but a new organ- 
isation — the Soviets of Workers' , Soldiers', Peasants' and 
other Deputies. 

Such Soviets already exist; they have been brought forth 
by the revolution; they are already recognised by everyone, 
even by the capitalist government, as a semi-government. 

And we have stated as clear as clear can be that these 
Soviets are the only possible form of a revolutionary gov- 
ernment. 

Can there be anything less ambiguous? 

Since it is the "only possible" form, that means we must 
act only through propaganda, unless someone begins to 
practise violence upon the masses. 

"The need for authority and the duty of submission" has 



120 



V. I. LENIN 



been recognised by all the Pravdists, who are preaching 
it to the people. 

The Milyukovs, Plekhanovs, Cherevanins and Co. lie in 
order to conceal the truth from the people; they lie in order 
to suppress the most important thing of all — the question 
of the class character of any given organisation of 
power. 

That is the crux of the matter. 

The capitalist calls the Soviets anarchy, because such 
an organisation of power does not commit the people before- 
hand and unconditionally to capitalist subjection, but pro- 
vides liberty and order together with the possibility of 
a peaceful and gradual transition to socialism. 

This and this alone is what rouses the displeasure, the 
indignation and resentment of the capitalists. Hence the 
partnership of lies. Hence the torrent of slander and the 
howl of rage. 

Hence, the underhand rio^-mongering which Rech re- 
sorts to in the above-mentioned editorial when it calls for 
"counteraction", for "renunciation of passivity, indiffer- 
ence", and so on. 

If you have the majority of the nation behind you, if 
your alliance with the Soviet is a lasting one (and we frankly 
admit that at the present moment the majority in the Soviet 
is not with us), then what do you fear, gentlemen, why do 
you lie? 

All we want is to make clear to the workers and to the 
poor peasants the errors of their tactics. We recognise the 
Soviets as the only possible authority. We advocate the 
need for authority and the duty of submitting to it. 

Why, then, are you afraid? Why do you lie? 

It is the truth that you fear. You lie in order to prevent 
this truth from emerging, prevent it by means of riot-mon- 
gering, slander, violence, and filth. 

Even some of our opponents now see this. Read today's 
Dyelo Naroda, 62 organ of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, an 
organ to which Minister Kerensky contributes. 

This is what that organ says about Plekhanov, the most 
faithful ally of Russkaya Volya and Rech: 

"We are accustomed to see such words and such a method 
of struggle is the columns of Russkaya Volya. But to see 



A PARTNERSHIP OF LIES 



121 



them employed in articles written by socialists is, frankly 
speaking, painful and depressing...." 
Thus write our opponents. 

Thus write democrats whose democratic conscience has 
been awakened. 

It is hopeless trying to put the Milyukovs, Plekhanovs 
and Cherevanins to shame. But when even a newspaper to 
which Minister Kerensky is a contributor turns away in 
disgust from the madly chauvinistic, infamously slanderous, 
riot-mongering methods employed by Plekhanov, then we 
may safely say: 

They are dead people, the heroes of such methods. 

Written April 13 (26), 1917 

Published April 14, 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 32 to the newspaper text 



122 



BANKS AND MINISTERS 

N. N. Pokrovsky, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs 
and the present Vice-Chairman of the Central War Industries 
Committee, has become a member of the Board of the Rus- 
sian Bank for Foreign Commerce. Count V. N. Kokovtsov, 
the former Chairman of the Council of Ministers, has also 
become a member of the Board. 

These happy tidings were brought to us by last night's 
papers. 

A minister today, a banker tomorrow; a banker today, 
a minister tomorrow. It is "war to the end" — both today 
and tomorrow. 

This state of affairs prevails not only in Russia, but in 
every other country where Capital rules. A handful of bank- 
ers, who have the whole world in their grip, are making 
a fortune out of the war. 

But Pokrovsky and Kokovtsov, we may be told, were 
ministers during the old regime, and we are now living in a 
regenerated Russia. 

We will answer with a question: 

In how many banks do the present ministers, Guchkov, 
Tereshchenko, and Konovalov — have an interest {in the ca- 
pacity of directors, shareholders, or actual owners)? 

Our Comrades, the bank employees (who, by the way, 
should organise a union of their own as soon as possible), 
would do well to gather material on this subject and publish 
it in the labour press. 



Pravda No. 32, April 14, 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



123 



AN IMPORTANT EXPOSURE 

Today's editorial in Dyelo Naroda, a newspaper which 
lists Minister Kerensky among its most active contributors, 
contains a forthright statement to the effect that "according 
to information this paper has received from people whom we 
consider quite competent in this matter, the above-men- 
tioned note [namely, the diplomatic note proclaiming re- 
nunciation of the policy of annexations and indemnities] 
has not yet been forwarded". 

And so those members and supporters of the Soviet of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies who say and think that "we 
have made the government renounce annexations" are mis- 
taken. 

Comrades and citizens! Read and reread this statement 
by Dyelo Naroda, ponder its meaning! 
The editorial goes on to say: 

"And here Mr. Guchkov, echoing his bellicose Palace Square col- 
league who covets and lusts after Constantinople and the Straits, in his 
appeal to the army on the Rumanian front throws out slogans calling 
for the utter defeat of Germany and Austria...." 

If Dyelo Naroda knows that Milyukov covets and lusts 
after annexations, then why not tell us more about it? 
Does not the people's cause require that Dyelo Naroda* 
speak out more clearly and frankly? 

The editorial ends by calling attention to the "bellicose 
members of our Provisional Government". 

Once more: Does not the people's cause require that the 
paper bearing that title make known names and facts, 
facts and names? 

Written April 13 (26), 1917 

Published April 14, 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 32 to the newspaper text 



* A play on words: Dyelo Naroda means the people's cause. — Ed. 



124 



TO THE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 

Comrades, soldiers! Comrades, sailors! 

The capitalist newspapers, from Rech down to Russkaya 
Volya, are carrying on a most shameless campaign of lies 
and slander concerning the passage through Germany of 
myself and thirty other emigrants. 

The capitalist newspapers shamelessly lie when they assert 
or insinuate that we enjoyed certain inadmissible or unusual 
favours from the German Government, a government which 
we consider just as predatory, just as criminal, as all the other 
capitalist governments who are carrying on the present 
war. 

Rich men having "connections" with high-ranking offi- 
cials of the tsarist monarchy, men like the liberal professor 
Kovalevsky, friend of Milyukov and Co., have been con- 
stantly negotiating with the German Government through 
the agency of the tsarist Russian Government with a view to 
arranging for an exchange of Russians captured by the Ger- 
mans, and Germans captured by the Russians. 

Why then should emigrants, who have been compelled to 
live abroad because of their struggle against the tsar, not 
have the right to arrange for an exchange of Russians for 
Germans without the government's aid? 

Why has the government of Milyukov and Co. not ad- 
mitted into Russia Fritz Platten, the Swiss socialist, who 
travelled with us and who had negotiated the agreement with 
the German Government concerning the exchange? 

The government lies when it spreads rumours that Platten 
is a friend of the Germans. This is sheer slander. Platten is 
the friend of the workers and the enemy of the capitalists 
of all countries. 



TO THE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 



125 



The capitalists lie when they circulate rumours that we 
are for a separate peace with the Germans, that we conferred 
or wanted to confer in Stockholm with those German social- 
ists who sided with their own government. 

This is a libellous lie. We did not participate and shall 
not participate in any conferences with such socialists. We 
look upon the socialists of all countries who are helping 
their own respective capitalists to carry on this criminal 
war as traitors to the cause of socialism. 

Only those socialists are our friends who, like Karl 
Liebknecht, condemned to hard labour by the predatory 
German Government, rise against their own capitalists. 

We do not want a separate peace with Germany, we want 
peace for all nations, we want the victory of the workers of 
all countries over the capitalists of all countries. 

The Russian capitalists are lying about us and slandering 
us, just as the German capitalists are slandering Liebknecht. 
The capitalists lie when they say that we want discord and 
enmity between the workers and the soldiers. 

It is not true! We want the workers and the soldiers to 
unite. We want to make it clear to the members of the 
Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies that it is these 
Soviets that must wield full state power. 

The capitalists are slandering us. They have sunk so low 
in their shamelessness that not a single bourgeois news- 
paper has reprinted from Izvestia our report concerning 
our journey and the decision of the Executive Committee 
of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 

Every worker and every soldier knows his Soviet of Work- 
ers' and Soldiers' Deputies. It was to the Executive Com- 
mittee of this Soviet that we made our report the day after 
our arrival. The report appeared in Izvestia.* Why is it 
that not a single capitalist paper has reprinted this report? 

Because these papers are spreading lies and slander and 
are afraid that our report to the Executive Committee will 
expose the deceivers. 

Why is it that not a single paper has reprinted the decision 
of the Executive Committee concerning our report, a deci- 
sion which was published in the same issue of Izvestia? 



See pp. 27-29 of this volume.— Ed. 



126 



V. I. LENIN 



Because this decision nails the lies of the capitalists and 
their newspapers, in that it demands that the government 
take steps for the return of the emigrants. 

Izvestia has published a protest against Trotsky's arrest 
by the English; it has published a letter by Zurabov expos- 
ing Milyukov's lies; it has also published a telegram from 
Martov on the same subject. 

Soldiers and sailors! Do not believe the lies and slander 
of the capitalists! Expose the deceivers, who are trying to 
suppress the truth published in Izvestia\ 

Written between April 11 and 14 
(24 and 27), 1917 

First published in 1925 Published according 

in Lenin Miscellany IV to the manuscript 



127 



AGAINST THE RIOT-MONGERS 



63 



TO THE WORKERS, SOLDIERS, 
AND THE WHOLE POPULATION OF PETROGRAD 



Citizens! The paper Russkaya Volya, founded by the 
tsar's Minister Protopopov and despised even by the Cadets, 
is carrying a riot-provoking campaign against our Party, 
against the paper Pravda, against our Comrades Lenin and 
Zinoviev, against the Petrograd Committee of our Party 
housed in the Kshesinskaya mansion. We have received a 
number of reports, written as well as oral, concerning threats 
of violence, bomb threats, etc. 

From the very first days of the revolution, the capitalists, 
masking as "republicans", have been trying to sow enmity 
between the workers and the soldiers. First they lied about 
the workers wanting to leave the army without bread. Now 
they are trying to inflame feeling against Pravda. 

We appeal to the sense of honour of the revolutionary 
workers and soldiers of Petrograd, and declare: 

We not only have not been guilty, directly or indirectly, 
of any threats of violence against individuals, but, on the 
contrary, we have always maintained that our task is to 
explain our views to all the people, that we regard the 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, elected by all the 
workers and the soldiers, as the only possible revolutionary 
government. 

On the very next day after their arrival the comrades, 
members of different parties, who passed through Germany, 
made a report to the trusted representatives of all the 
workers and soldiers, namely, to the Executive Committee 
of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. On this 
Executive Committee were Chkheidze, Tsereteli. Skobelev, 
Steklov, and others. 



128 



V. I. LENIN 



Comrades! These leaders of the Soviet of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies differ with us on many questions pertain- 
ing to the organisation of the state. They could be anything 
but biased in our favour. 

Now what did the Executive Committee do? 

In its Izvestia No. 32, for April 5, 1917, it published the 
full report dealing with the passage through Germany. 

This report gives all the facts, and the names of the foreign 
socialists from two neutral countries, Switzerland and Swe- 
den, who checked our protocols. 

And what was the decision of the Executive Committee? 
Did it express condemnation or even disapproval of the fact 
that Lenin and others travelled through Germany? 

It did not. This is how the editors of Izvestia, in the same 
issue, reported the resolution of the Executive Committee: 

"Having heard the report of Comrades Zurabov and Zinoviev, the 
Executive Committee decided to take the matter up immediately with 
the Provisional Government and to take steps towards securing the 
immediate return to Russia of all emigrants, irrespective of their 
political views and their attitude towards the war. The results of the 
negotiations with the government will be published in the near fu- 
ture. — Editors." 

As anyone can see, not a single word is said here against 
Lenin and his comrades. What we have is a warning to the 
Provisional Government, a decision to take steps to prevent 
it from hindering return to Russia. 

Following this, Martov's telegram and Trotsky's ar- 
rest in Britain have shown that Milyukov is either powerless 
against Britain and France, who keep their own internation- 
alist socialists imprisoned, or that he does not want to take 
serious measures. 

The Germans and Russians have made exchanges dozens 
of times throughout the war. Kovalevsky member of the 
Council of State, was exchanged for an Austrian, etc. For 
wealthy people such exchanges have been arranged by the 
governments many a time. Then why doesn't the present 
government want to arrange such an exchange for the emi- 
grants? Because it wants to prevent a number of fighters 
from taking part in the revolutionary struggle. 

What does Russkaya Volya do, and papers like Rech and 
Yedinstvo that follow in its footsteps? 



AGAINST THE RIOT MONGERS 



129 



They continue their hounding campaign, thereby inciting 
ignorant people to acts of violence against individuals. 
They refuse to publish either the report or the resolution of 
the Executive Committee. 

The Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies has been given the names of various social- 
ists who verified and approved every step taken by the emi- 
grants in connection with their journey. They are the French 
socialists Loriot and Guilbeaux, the Swiss socialist Platten, 
the Swedish socialists Lindhagen (Mayor of Stockholm), 
Carleson, Strom, Nerman, the German socialist Hartstein 
of Karl Liebknecht' 's group, the Polish socialist Brohski. 

By acting this way Russkaya Volya, Rech and Yedinstvo 
are aiding and abetting the dark forces which threaten vio- 
lence, bombs, and riots. 

Comrades, soldiers and workers! 

We warn you against these gentlemen of Russkaya Volya, 
Rech and Yedinstvo, and declare over and over again that 
we stand for explaining to the whole nation the views of 
all the parties, we stand for respecting the Soviet of Sol- 
diers' and Workers' Deputies. 

If the Provisional Government, if Rech, if Mr. Plekhanov 
are displeased with the way the Executive Committee of 
the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies has acted, 
why do they not say so openly? Why do they not demand a 
re-examination of the case? Why are they afraid to reprint 
what was published in Izvestia No. 32? Why? Because they 
are out to sow discord! 

If violence in any form is resorted to, we shall place the 
responsibility on the editors and contributors of Russkaya 
Volya, Rech, Yedinstvo, and others, who have dared to keep 
the report and the resolution of the Executive Committee out 
of the press, and to carry on an insidious propaganda. 

The paper Dyelo Naroda, to which Minister A. F. Kerensky 
is an active contributor, has already pointed out that the 
methods used by these newspapers are helping the riot-mon- 
gers (Dyelo Naroda No. 23). 

We want the Milyukovs, Amfiteatrovs, Plekhanovs and 
Co. to know that if their baiting leads to violence they will 
be the first to suffer the consequences. 

Down with riot-mongering! Down with the heroes of 



130 



V. I. LENIN 



baiting and deception, who suppress the resolution of the 
Executive Committee! 

Comrades, soldiers and workers! You will not allow the 
people's freedom to be marred by riots! You will see to it 
that the decisions of your Soviet of Soldiers' and Workers' 
Deputies are respected. 



Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. 
Petrograd Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. 



Written before April 14 (27), 1917 

Published April 15, 1917 
in Pravda No. 33 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



131 



CITIZENS! SEE WHAT METHODS 
THE CAPITALISTS OF ALL COUNTRIES ARE USING! 

Today's Rech concludes its editorial with the following 
words: 

"The German Government is endeavouring to preserve the inner 
unity of Germany and sow discord among the Allies. Our 'Pravdists' 
are making every effort to undermine unity in revolutionary Russia 
and to set the Russian Government upon the governments of our Allies, 
Britain and France. Are we not entitled to say that the Lenin crew is 
working for von Bethmann-Hollweg and Wilhelm II?" 

No, gentlemen of the capitalist fold, you are not entitled 
to say it. It is we Pravdists, and we alone, who, far from pre- 
serving the inner unity of Germany, are, on the contrary, 
actually engaged in destroying it. 

This is a fact which no lies of the Russian capitalists 
can ever obliterate. 

It is a fact that we Pravdists, and we alone, demand that 
the German socialists should unconditionally and immedi- 
ately break with the German Plekhanovs, i.e., the Schei- 
demanns, and with the German "Centre", i.e., those vacil- 
lating people who cannot make up their minds to break 
away, definitely, on principle, from the Scheidemanns. 

It is a fact that we Pravdists, and we alone, stand for unity 
with only two German socialist groups (the Spartacus and 
the Arbeiterpolitik) which support the policy of Karl Lieb- 
knecht, i.e., the policy of destroying the inner unity of Ger- 
many. The policy of Karl Liebknecht, a policy of deeds, 
not words, is to destroy the "inner unity" of the capitalists 
and workers in Germany. 

Clearly realising that the German capitalists and their 
Wilhelm are imperialists, i.e., brigands, Karl Liebknecht 



132 



V. I. LENIN 



as far back as September 1915 sent a letter to the Zimmerwald 
Conference, which was not published, because Liebknecht 
was then still a legal person. But everyone who was at Zim- 
merwald knew about this letter. 

The letter called, not for a civil truce, but for a civil 
war. 

That was how our comrade-in-idea, Karl Liebknecht, 
preached "inner unity" in Germany. That is what we ourselves 
have preached in the German translation of our Pravdist 
pamphlet Socialism and War (by Zinoviev and Lenin).* 

Karl Liebknecht not only spoke this way, he acted this 
way. From the platform of the German parliament, he called 
upon the German soldiers to turn their guns against their 
own German Government. Then he joined a street demon- 
stration with revolutionary proclamations reading: "Down 
with the Government." 

That is how Karl Liebknecht, an adherent of our Pravdist 
policy, has been "endeavouring to preserve the inner unity 
of Germany". That is why he has been thrown into a convict 
prison. 

And Karl Liebknecht is denounced as a Judas and a trai- 
tor not only by the entire press of the German capitalists, 
but by all the papers of the German Plekhanovs, who accuse 
him more or less directly of treason or anarchism. 

In all countries the capitalists are spewing out a torrent 
of lies, slander, abuse and accusations of treason against 
those socialists who are behaving the way Karl Liebknecht 
is behaving in Germany, or the way the Pravdists are behav- 
ing in Russia, i.e., who are destroying the "inner unity" 
between the workers and the capitalists, the workers and the 
Plekhanovs, the workers and the "Centrists" in every country, 
and who are creating unity among the workers of all countries 
in order to put an end to the predatory, murderous imperi- 
alist war, in order to rid mankind of the yoke of capitalism. 

In Germany the capitalists are hounding Karl Liebknecht 
and his friends as traitors. In Germany, too, our comrade 
Karl Liebknecht has been repeatedly threatened with mob 
violence. This has been mentioned even by that German 
Plekhanov, the social-chauvinist David. In Russia the 



See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 313-16.— Ed. 



WHAT METHODS CAPITALISTS ARE USING 



133 



capitalists hound the Pravdists as traitors. In Britain the 
capitalists hound the Scotch public school-teacher Mac- 
Lean as a traitor. He, too, has been thrown into a convict 
prison for the same kind of crime, for the same kind of "trea- 
son" as that which Karl Liebknecht and we Pravdists are 
guilty of. 

In France the republican capitalist government is keep- 
ing in prison the Frenchman Content and the Russian 
Rayev for issuing a proclamation entitled "Impose peace". 

Gentlemen of Rech, ministers, members of the revolution- 
ary government, put us Pravdists in a convict prison, or 
tell the Russian people to shut us up in a convict prison! 
Then you will be actually following in the footsteps of capi- 
talist Britain, our "Ally" (the ally of Tsar Nicholas II, for 
it was he who concluded the treaty with the Allies), which is 
keeping the British Pravdists in a convict prison. 

Down with the "inner unity" of the workers and capital- 
ists in all countries, for this "unity" has condemned and is 
still condemning humanity to the horrors of the predatory 
imperialist war waged in the interests of the capitalists! 

Long live unity among those socialists and workers in all 
countries who not only sympathise with Karl Liebknecht 
in words, but actually pursue the Liebknecht policy against 
their own capitalists! 

Written April 14 (27), 1917 

Published April 15, 1917 
in Prauda No. 33 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



134 



A "VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT" BETWEEN 
LANDOWNERS AND PEASANTS? 



Here is the text of the telegram from Minister Shingaryov, 
mentioned in yesterday's editorial of our paper, and printed 
in today's Dyen 64 : 

"On acquainting myself with the decision of the Ranenburg Com- 
mittee relating to the grain sowing, I deem it my duty to declare that 
an independent solution of the land question in the absence of a gen- 
eral state law is inadmissible. Arbitrary action will lead to a nation- 
al calamity and will jeopardise the cause of freedom by provoking 
discord. The lawful solution of the land question is the business of the 
Constituent Assembly. At the present time agricultural conciliation 
chambers will be set up in each local area under the rural supply com- 
mittees for the purpose of effecting voluntary agreements between 
the tillers of the land and the landowners. The question of leaseholds 
on vacant lands is also being urgently considered. For the sake of gen- 
eral order I request that everybody be guided by the decisions of 
the Provisional Government and refrain from establishing self-made 
laws." 

Can you call it "democracy", "people's freedom", when the 
peasants, who clearly constitute the overwhelming major- 
ity of the population, have no right to adopt and carry 
out their own decision, but must wait for a "voluntary agree- 
ment'" between the tillers of the land and the landowners? 

One landowner having two thousand dessiatines of land — 
and three hundred peasant families having two thousand des- 
siatines. That, on the average, is how things stand in Russia. 
Three hundred peasants must wait for the "voluntary" con- 
sent of one landowner! 

Is this right, comrade soldiers? 

Written April 14 (27), 1917 

Published April 15, 1917 
in Pravda No. 33 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



135 



AN HONEST VOICE IN A CHORUS OF SLANDERERS 

Today's Malenkaya Gazeta 65 publishes an appeal by a 
group of soldiers of the Fourth Motor Ambulance Unit to all 
comrades in the army, demanding an investigation into the 
circumstances connected with the passage through Germany 
of Lenin and others. 

Here we have an honest voice standing out from the 
torrent of filthy lies, foul slander, and riot-mongering agita- 
tion. Indeed, it is the right and duty of every citizen to de- 
mand an investigation into any fact that is of social impor- 
tance. 

Here we have an honest method of honest people, not of 
riot-mongers. 

And it is this method that Lenin and all the adherents of 
various parties who had come with him adopted immediately 
upon their arrival. They made a report of their passage to 
the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies,* giving the names of the socialists from 
two neutral countries, Switzerland and Sweden, who had 
signed the official protocol of the journey, and had examined 
all the documents. The Executive Committee had Chkheidze, 
Tsereteli, Skobelev, Steklov, and others on it. They decided 
to publish in Izvestia both the report and the resolution of 
the Executive Committee. 

Following the consideration of the report it was resolved: 
"Having heard the report of Comrades Zurabov and Zinov- 
iev, the Executive Committee decided to take the matter 
up immediately with the Provisional Government and to 
take steps towards securing the immediate return to Russia 



* See pp. 27-29 of this volume.— Ed. 



136 



V. I. LENIN 



of all emigrants, irrespective of their political views and 
their attitude towards the war." 

Both documents were published in Izvestia No. 32, for 
April 5, 1917. 

Is it fair, is it sensible not to reprint the report and the 
resolution, and to conduct a riot-mongering agitation? 

Have the comrades of the Fourth Motor Ambulance Unit 
acted rightly in hastening to "brand" and denounce the 
newly arrived comrades as "traitors", to heap "curses" upon 
them, and to revile them without having discussed the 
documents printed in Izvestia? 

What is this if not anarchism, if not an appeal to defy 
the members of the Executive Committee elected by the 
workers and soldiers? 



Written April 14 (27), 1917 

Published April 15, 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 33 to the newspaper text 

Signed: N. Lenin 



137 



THE SOLDIERS AND THE LAND 

Most of the soldiers come from the peasantry. Every peas- 
ant knows how the landowners have been oppressing the 
people. But wherein lies the power of the landowners? 

In the land. 

The landowners have tens of millions of dessiatines of 
land. That is why millions of peasant families have no choice 
but to enslave themselves to the landowners. 

No "liberties" can help the peasants so long as the landown- 
ers are in possession of tens of millions of dessiatines of 
land. 

All the landed estates must be taken over by the people. 
All the land in the country must become the property of 
the whole people, and be disposed of by the local Soviets 
of Peasants' and Agricultural Labourers' Deputies. 

How is this to be accomplished? We must immediately 
set up all over Russia, in every village without exception, 
Soviets of Peasants' and Agricultural Labourers' Dep- 
uties modelled after the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies in the cities. Unless the peasants and agricultural 
labourers themselves unite, unless they themselves take 
their fate into their own hands, no one in the world will 
help them, no one will free them from their bondage to the 
landowners. 

To enable the peasants to take over all the land from 
the landowners in their own districts immediately and to 
dispose of it properly, while preserving perfect order and 
guarding against any damage to property, the peasants 
must be supported by the soldiers. 

The peasants, soldiers, and workers constitute the over- 
whelming majority of the population. This majority wants 



138 



V. I. LENIN 



all the land to pass immediately into the hands of the Soviets 
of Peasants' Deputies. No one can stop the majority, if it 
is well organised (solidly united), if it is class-conscious, if 
it is armed. 

Soldiers! Help to unite and arm all the workers and the 
peasants! 

Soldiers! You, too, unite more solidly, and form closer 
ties with the workers and the peasants! Do not allow your 
armed power to be taken away from you! 

Then, and only then, will the people get all the land, and 
free themselves from their bondage to the landowners. 



Soldatskaya Pravda No. 1, 
April 15, 1917 
Signed: N. Lenin 



Published according 
to the text in Soldatskaya Pravda 



THE PETROGRAD CITY CONFERENCE 
OF THE R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks) 66 



APRIL 14-22 (APRIL 27-MAY 5), 1917 



141 



1 

REPORT ON THE PRESENT SITUATION 
AND THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PROVISIONAL 
GOVERNMENT 
APRIL 14 (21) 

Our political line, embodied in resolutions, was worked 
out in advance with far greater precision than that of any 
other party. Events, however, have created an entirely 
new situation. The chief mistake made by revolutionaries 
is that they look backward at the old revolutions, whereas 
life gives us too many new things that have to be fitted into 
the general pattern of events. 

The motive forces of the revolution were defined by us 
quite correctly. Events have justified our old Bolshevik 
premises, but the trouble with us is that comrades have 
wished to remain "old" Bolsheviks. Mass movement had been 
confined to the proletariat and the peasantry. The West- 
European bourgeoisie had always been opposed to revolution. 
Such was the situation to which we had been accustomed. 
But things turned out differently. The imperialist war split 
the European bourgeoisie, and this created a situation where 
the Anglo-French capitalists, for imperialist reasons, became 
supporters of a Russian revolution. The British capitalists 
actually entered into a conspiracy with Guchkov, Milyukov, 
and the high commanding officers of the army. The Anglo- 
French capitalists sided with the revolution. The European 
newspapers report many instances of British and French 
emissaries making trips to have talks with "revolutionaries" 
like Guchkov. The revolution has thus gained an unexpected 
ally. As a result, the revolution has turned out to be different 
from what anyone expected. We have found allies not only 



142 



V. I. LENIN 



in the Russian bourgeoisie but also among the Anglo-French 
capitalists. When I mentioned this in a lecture delivered 
abroad,* I was told by a Menshevik that we had been wrong, 
for events had proved that the bourgeoisie was necessary 
for the success of the revolution. I replied that it was "neces- 
sary" only insofar as it helped the revolution triumph in 
eight days. Did not Milyukov declare before the revolution 
that if victory lay through revolution, then he was against 
victory? We must not forget these words of Milyukov. 

And so, the revolution in its first stage developed in a way 
that no one had expected. The Bolsheviks' reply to the 
question as to the possibility of "defending the fatherland" 
was this: if a bourgeois-chauvinist revolution triumphed 
{Sotsial-Demokrat 61 No. 47), then defence of the fatherland 
would be impossible.** The situation is unique in that we 
now have a dual power. Abroad, where no paper more Left 
than Rech ever penetrates, and where the English and French 
bourgeois papers speak of an all-powerful Provisional 
Government and the "chaos" represented by the Soviet of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, nobody has any clear idea 
of this dual power. Only here on the spot did we learn that 
the Soviet had surrendered power to the Provisional 
Government. The Soviet is the implementation of the dicta- 
torship of the proletariat and the soldiers; among the latter 
the majority are peasants. It is therefore a dictatorship of 
the proletariat and the peasantry. But this "dictatorship" 
has entered into an agreement with the bourgeoisie. And 
this is where the "old" Bolshevism needs revising. The sit- 
uation that has arisen shows that the dictatorship of the 
proletariat and the peasantry is interlocked with the power 
of the bourgeoisie. An amazingly unique situation. The 
past contains no instances of a revolution where the repre- 
sentatives of the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry, 
though fully armed, concluded an alliance with the bour- 
geoisie, and though having the power, ceded it to the bour- 
geoisie. The bourgeoisie wields the power of capital and the 
power of organisation. It is a wonder the workers have shown 
themselves to be as well organised as they are. The bour- 



See present edition, Vol. 23, p. 355. — Ed. 
Ibid., Vol. 21, p. 403.— Ed. 



PETROGRAD CITY CONFERENCE 



143 



geois revolution in Russia is completed insofar as power has 
come into the hands of the bourgeoisie. Here the "old Bol- 
sheviks" argue: "It is not completed — for there is no dictator- 
ship of the proletariat and the peasantry." But the Soviet of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies is that very dictatorship. 

The agrarian movement can go two ways. The peasants 
may take the land, but no struggle may develop between 
the rural proletariat and the prosperous peasants. This is 
unlikely, however, for the class struggle does not wait. 
To repeat now what we said in 1905, and omit mention of the 
class struggle in the countryside, is a betrayal of the prole- 
tarian cause. 

Already we can discern in the decisions of a number of 
peasant congresses a tendency to wait with the solution of 
the agrarian question until the convocation of the Constitu- 
ent Assembly. This is a victory for the well-to-do peasants 
who lean towards the Cadets. The peasants are already 
taking possession of the land. The Socialist-Revolutionaries 
are trying to hold them back, suggesting that they wait 
until the Constituent Assembly meets. We must combine the 
demand for the immediate seizure of the land with propagan- 
da for the setting up of Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' 
Deputies. The bourgeois-democratic revolution is completed. 
The agrarian programme must be carried out in a new way. 
The same struggle for power that is going on here between 
the large and small proprietors will take place in the village 
too. The peasants will not be content with land alone. The 
number of horseless peasants has increased greatly. We 
alone are at present developing the agrarian revolution, when 
we tell the peasants to take the land immediately. The 
land must be taken in an organised manner. Property must 
not be damaged. The agrarian movement, consequently, is 
only a prevision, and not a fact. It is the task of Marxists 
to make the question of an agrarian programme clear to 
the peasants; the weight of emphasis on this issue must be 
shifted to the Soviet of Agricultural Labourers' Deputies. 
We must be prepared, however, for the peasantry uniting 
with the bourgeoisie, just as the Soviet of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies has done. It follows that the agrarian 
movement still has to be developed. The well-to-do peasant- 
ry will, naturally, gravitate towards the bourgeoisie, 



144 



V. I. LENIN 



towards the Provisional Government. It may prove even more 
Right than Guchkov. 

For the time being, the victory of bourgeois power is 
an accomplished fact. The economic position of the peasants 
separates them from the landowners. What the peasants need 
is not a legal right to the land. They need Soviets of Agricul- 
tural Labourers' Deputies. Those who advise the peasants 
to wait until the Constituent Assembly meets are deceiving 
them. 

Our task is to separate the class line from this petty- 
bourgeois bog. The bourgeoisie does its job splendidly; 
it makes all sorts of promises, but in effect pursues only its 
class policy. 

In the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies the 
alignment of forces is such that power is passed to the Pro- 
visional Government, while the socialists content themselves 
with "contact commissions". True, this government is com- 
posed of the most trusted and best people of their class, but 
still of a definite class. The petty bourgeoisie has surrendered 
to them completely. Unless we mark out a proletarian line, 
we shall be betraying the cause of the proletariat. The bour- 
geoisie rules either by deception or by violence. Just now 
flattery and deception prevail, and this lulls the revolution. 
The bourgeoisie makes concessions on minor issues, but in 
matters of primary importance (the agrarian revolution, for 
example) they make none. One must be blind to the facts not 
to see that in Russia, apart from the Bolsheviks, there is 
nothing but revolutionary defencism, and that it has tri- 
umphed everywhere. Revolutionary defencism means the 
surrender of all socialist principles in the predatory inter- 
ests of capitalism, interests which are screened behind the 
phrase "defence of the fatherland"; it means surrendering 
one's positions to the petty bourgeoisie. When I spoke of 
the "honest" mass of revolutionary defencists, I had in 
mind not a moral category, but a class definition. The classes 
represented in the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
have no interest in the predatory war. In Europe it is differ- 
ent. There the people are oppressed, and the most opportun- 
istic pacifists are often hounded worse than we Pravdists 
are. In our country the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies pursues its policy of revolutionary defencism, not by 



PETROGRAD CITY CONFERENCE 



145 



violence, but because the masses trust it. Europe is one vast 
military prison. Capitalism rules cruelly there. All over 
Europe the bourgeoisie should be overthrown, and not argued 
with. In Russia the soldiers are armed; by agreeing only 
to "defend themselves" against Wilhelm they allowed them- 
selves to be peacefully deceived. In Europe, there is no 
"honest" revolutionary defencism like we have in Russia, 
where the people have handed over the power to the bour- 
geoisie through ignorance, inertia, tradition, and the habit 
of suffering the rod. Steklov and Chkheidze are leaders in 
word, but tailpieces of the bourgeoisie in deed; for all their 
virtues, their knowledge of Marxism, etc., they are politi- 
cally dead. Here in Russia the power is in the hands of the 
soldiers, who are defencist-minded. The objective class po- 
sition of the capitalists is one thing. They are conducting 
the war in their own interests. The soldiers are proletarians 
and peasants. This is another thing. Are they interested 
in seizing Constantinople? No, their class interests are op- 
posed to war! That is why they can be made to see light, made 
to change their minds. The crux of the political situation at 
this moment is to be able to make the masses see the truth. 
We cannot talk about having the "backing" of the revolu- 
tionary mass, etc., until we have brought home to the sol- 
diers or to the uneducated masses the meaning of the slogan 
"Down with war". 

What is the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies? 
Its class meaning is direct power. We do not have complete 
political liberty, of course. But nowhere else is there such 
freedom as exists in Russia today. "Down with war" does 
not mean flinging the bayonet away. It means the transfer 
of power to another class. Everything must now be focused 
on making that clear. Blanquism was a striving to seize 
power with the backing of a minority. With us it is quite 
different. We are still a minority and realise the need for 
winning a majority. Unlike the anarchists, we need the state 
for the transition to socialism. The Paris Commune furnished 
an example of a state of the Soviet type, an example of direct 
power wielded by the organised and armed workers, an exam- 
ple of the dictatorship of workers and peasants. The role of 
the Soviets, the significance of such a dictatorship, is that 
they apply organised force against the counter-revolution, 



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safeguard the gains of the revolution for the benefit of the 
majority and with the support of the majority. There can 
be no dual power in a state. The Soviets are a type of state 
where the existence of a police is impossible. Here the people 
are their own rulers, and there can be no return to the mo- 
narchy. The army and the people must merge into one — 
therein lies the triumph of liberty! Everyone must learn to use 
arms. To safeguard freedom, all the people to a man must be 
armed. This is the essence of the commune. We are not an- 
archists who deny the need for an organised state, i.e., for 
force in general, particularly a state maintained by the or- 
ganised and armed workers themselves through the Soviets. 
Events have led to the dictatorship of the proletariat and 
peasantry being interlocked with the dictatorship of the 
bourgeoisie. The next stage is the dictatorship of the pro- 
letariat, but the proletariat is not yet sufficiently organised 
and enlightened; it must be enlightened. Such Soviets of 
Workers' and other Deputies should be organised all over 
the country — life itself demands it. There is no other way. 
This is the Paris Commune! The Soviet of Workers' Dep- 
uties is not an organisation of the trade union type, as the 
bourgeoisie would like it to be. The people see it differently 
and more correctly — they see it as a government power. 
They see that the way out of the war lies through the victory 
of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies. This is the type of state 
under which it is possible to advance towards socialism. 
Should a group seize power, it would not mean much. The 
Russian revolution has risen higher: any government other 
than the Soviet is impossible, and this is what the bour- 
geoisie fears. So long as the Soviets have not seized power, we 
shall not take it. A living force, however, must impel the 
Soviets to seize power. Otherwise we shall never get out of 
the war which the capitalists are carrying on by deceiving 
the people. All countries are on the brink of ruin; people 
must realise this; there is no way out except through a so- 
cialist revolution. The government must be overthrown, 
but not everybody understands this correctly. So long as 
the Provisional Government has the backing of the Soviet 
of Workers' Deputies, you cannot "simply" overthrow it. 
The only way it can and must be overthrown is by winning 
over the majority in the Soviets. It is either forward towards 



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the undivided power of the Soviets of Workers' and Sol- 
diers' Deputies, or back to the imperialist war — there is 
no other alternative. Kautsky denied that a revolution was 
possible in time of war. Events have shown him to be wrong. 

As regards nationalisation of the banks and control over 
them — economically this is feasible, economically nothing 
can interfere with it, once the power is in the hands of the 
workers. Obviously, in viewing the tasks of the proletariat 
as we do, there can be no question of any alliance with the 
"defencists". 

Concerning a new name for the Party: the word "Social- 
Democracy" is incorrect; it is scientifically wrong. Marx 
and Engels said as much on many occasions. If they "put 
up with" the word, it was because after the year 1871 a spe- 
cial situation was created: a slow preparation of the masses 
was needed, revolution was not on the order of the day. 
Democracy, too, means a form of state, but the Paris Com- 
mune had risen above it. Now the whole world is faced with 
the practical issue — that of the transition to socialism. The 
Social-Democrat Plekhanov and the rest of the social- 
chauvinists throughout the world have betrayed socialism. 
We should call ourselves the "Communist Party". 



A brief report published 
May 8 (April 25), 
1917 in Pravda No. 40 

First published in full in 1925 Published according 

in the book The Petrograd City to the typewritten copy 

and the All-Russia Conferences of the Minutes 

of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks), 
April 1917 



148 



V. I. LENIN 



2 

CONCLUDING REMARKS IN THE DEBATE 
CONCERNING THE REPORT ON THE PRESENT SITUATION 

APRIL 14 (27) 

The discussion has shown that opinion is divided. I cannot 
answer all the questions. 

The question of old Bolshevism. Kalinin defended old 
Bolshevism. But he also came to the conclusion that our 
present tactics were correct. Another opinion is that there is 
a marked tendency towards the tactics of the petty bour- 
geoisie. 

There is a time-honoured expression: to go through with 
the revolution. But which revolution? The objective situa- 
tion in 1905 was this: the proletariat and the peasantry were 
the only revolutionary element, while the Cadets stood for 
the monarchy. Now defencism represents the adoption by 
the peasants of petty-bourgeois tactics. Going through 
with the revolution under these circumstances has no 
meaning. The revolution has united the petty bourgeoisie 
with other revolutionary elements upon the ground of 
defencism. 

The future of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the 
peasantry. A petty-bourgeois peasantry holding defencist 
views may even be in favour of a monarchy. 

A new line follows from the policy of Bolshevism. The 
petty bourgeoisie and the big bourgeoisie have united. We 
take as our point of departure conflicting class interests. 
The labourer peasants ought to be against the imperialist 
war. The proprietor peasants are for defencism. 

Defencism has shown that the petty bourgeoisie has moved 
away from the working class and gone over to the big bour- 



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geoisie. The poor peasant who earns a part of his living in 
the city has no need for this war. This class ought to be op- 
posed to the war. 

Old Bolshevism should be discarded. The line of the petty 
bourgeoisie must be separated from that of the wage-earning 
proletariat. Fine phrases about the revolutionary people are 
suitable to a man like Kerensky, but not to the revolutionary 
proletariat. To be revolutionaries, even democrats, with 
Nicholas removed, is no great merit. Revolutionary 
democracy is no good at all; it is a mere phrase. It covers up 
rather than lays bare the antagonisms of class interests. 
A Bolshevik must open the eyes of the workers and peasants 
to the existence of these antagonisms, not gloss them 
over. If the imperialist war hits the proletariat and the 
peasants economically, these classes will have to rise 
against it. 

To create a network of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', 
and Peasants' Deputies — that is our task today. The whole 
of Russia is already being covered with a network of organs 
of local self-government. A commune may exist also in the 
form of organs of self-government. The abolition of the police 
and the standing army, and the arming of the whole people — 
all this can be accomplished through the organs of local self- 
government. I have taken the Soviet of Workers' Deputies 
simply because it already exists. 

It is said, we must "interest" the proletariat. This is 
what Chkheidze, the Provisional Government and others 
are doing when they use high-sounding words about revolu- 
tionary democracy. A Bolshevik must differentiate between 
the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie, and leave such 
words as "revolutionary democracy" and "revolutionary 
people" to Kerensky. Democracy in Russia is imperialistic. 
It is argued that we are reducing our activities to cultural 
work. That is not true. Passing resolutions about the Con- 
stituent Assembly, etc., would mean "interesting" the pro- 
letariat. 

The real work is to bring about the abolition of the 
standing army, the bureaucracy, and the police, and to arm 
the whole people. 

The Constituent Assembly will not kill the revolution, 
for nothing is heard of it now, and no one is planning to 



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convene it. We leave it to the Socialist-Revolutionaries to 
"demand" its convocation. 

This war is a world war. It is waged by definite classes, 
and was brought on by banking capital. It can be stopped 
by transferring power to another class. So long as the power 
remains in the hands of the ruling classes, peace can alter 
nothing. 

The proletariat must be shown how the revolution can 
be carried forward by concrete measures. To carry the revo- 
lution forward means to achieve self-government by inde- 
pendent action. The growth of democracy does not stand in 
the way of self-government, it helps us to realise our aims. 
The war can be terminated only by the transfer of power to 
another class — and Russia has come closest of all to that — 
but never by a truce among the capitalists of all countries 
on the basis of an exchange of subjugated nationalities. 
A commune is quite suitable to the peasantry. A commune 
means complete self-government, the absence of any supervi- 
sion from above. Nine-tenths of the peasantry should be 
for it. 

The bourgeoisie may reconcile itself to the nationalisa- 
tion of the land, should the peasants take over the land. As 
a proletarian party, we must declare that the land alone 
will not feed people. To cultivate it one will therefore have 
to set up the commune. We must be for centralisation, but 
there are times when things can best be done locally; we 
should allow a maximum of initiative in the local areas. 
The Cadets are already acting like officials. They tell the 
peasants: "Wait for the Constituent Assembly." Our Party 
alone provides slogans that really carry the revolution 
forward. The Soviets of Workers' Deputies are fully capable 
of establishing communes in the local areas. The question is 
whether the proletariat will be well enough organised for 
the task, but this is a thing we cannot estimate in advance, 
we must learn by doing. 

Trotskyism: "No tsar, but a workers' government." This 
is wrong. A petty bourgeoisie exists, and it cannot be dis- 
missed. But it is in two parts. The poorer of the two is with 
the working class. 

War. To end the war by pacifist means is utopia. It may 
be terminated by an imperialist peace. But the masses do 



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not want such a peace. War is a continuation of the policies 
of a class; to change the character of the war one must change 
the class in power. 

The name Communist Party is theoretically sound. The 
Left socialists of other countries are too weak. We must 
take the initiative. 

First published in 1925 Published according 

in the book The Petrograd City to the typewritten copy 

and the All-Russia Conferences of the Minutes 

of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks), 
April 1917 



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3 

TWO REMARKS DURING THE DEBATE 
ON THE RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE ATTITUDE 
TOWARDS THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 
APRIL 15 (28) 



I 

After yesterday's debate I can confine myself to brief 
remarks. The resolution shows a way out. The situation is 
determined not only by the fact that definite classes are rep- 
resented in the Provisional Government, but also by the 
fact that the latter leans upon the Soviet of Workers' 
Deputies. The inference is not that we must yield to this 
petty bourgeoisie, but that we must form independent 
groups, not in order to separate ourselves from the petty bour- 
geoisie, but in order to impel it to go forward. The seizure 
of all the land is a step forward on the part of the revolution- 
ary people. The replacement of the standing army by a 
militia is a step forward. 



II 

Comrade Kamenev is shifting to the policy of Chkheidze 
and Steklov. Of course, no one will say that the Provisional 
Government is putting off the Constituent Assembly, if we 
do not say it. Everybody wants to carry on the war. The 
point at issue is the organisation of counter-revolution. 
In revolutionary times control means deception. The date 
for the elections could be arranged in three days. By 



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listing "sins", we provide ammunition for propaganda. To 
seek the truth in the Contact Commission is impossible. 
There can be no control without power. To control by means 
of resolutions, etc., is sheer nonsense. Control means dis- 
pelling the petty-bourgeois illusions, fog. 

First published in 1925 Published according 

in the book The Petrograd City to the typewritten copy 

and the All-Russia Conferences of the Minutes 

of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks), 
April 1917 



154 



V. I. LENIN 



4 

RESOLUTION 
ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS 
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 

Considering: 

(1) that the Provisional Government, by its class char- 
acter, is the organ of landowner and bourgeois domination; 

(2) that the Provisional Government and the classes 
it represents are bound with indissoluble economic and po- 
litical ties to Russian and Anglo-French imperialism; 

(3) that the Provisional Government is carrying out its 
proclaimed programme only partially, and only under pres- 
sure of the revolutionary proletariat and, to some extent, 
of the petty bourgeoisie; 

(4) that the forces of bourgeois and landowner counter- 
revolution, now being organised, have already, under cover 
of the Provisional Government and with the latter' s obvious 
connivance, launched an attack on revolutionary democ- 
racy; 

(5) that the Provisional Government is avoiding fixing 
the date for the elections to the Constituent Assembly, 
preventing the arming of the people as a whole, opposing 
the transfer of all the land to the people, foisting upon it the 
landowners' way of settling the agrarian question, obstruct- 
ing the introduction of an eight-hour workday, condoning 
counter-revolutionary propaganda in the army (by Guchkov 
and Co.), rallying the high-ranking officers against the 
soldiers, etc.; 

(6) that this government, at the same time, is relying 
at present on the confidence of, and, to a certain extent, on 
an actual agreement with, the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' 



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and Soldiers' Deputies, which now unites an obvious major- 
ity of workers and soldiers, i.e., peasants; 

(7) that every step of the Provisional Government, in 
both its domestic and foreign policies, is bound to open the 
eyes, not only of the proletarians in town and country and 
semi-proletarians, but also of the broad sections of the petty 
bourgeoisie, to the real nature of this government, 

the Conference resolves that: 

(1) in order to ensure all the state power passing into 
the hands of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
or other bodies directly expressing the will of the people, 
prolonged work is necessary to develop proletarian class- 
consciousness and to unite the urban and rural proletarians 
against the vacillations of the petty bourgeoisie, for only 
work of this nature can guarantee real advance on the part 
of the whole revolutionary people; 

(2) this calls for many-sided activity within the Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, for work aimed at in- 
creasing the number of these Soviets, consolidating their pow- 
er, and welding together our Party's proletarian internation- 
alist groups in the Soviets; 

(3) we must organise our Social-Democratic forces more 
effectively, so as to be able to direct the new wave of the 
revolutionary movement under the banner of revolutionary 
Social-Democracy. 

Pravda No. 35, Published according 

May 1 (April 18), 1917 to the typewritten copy 

of the Minutes verified with 
the text of Pravda 



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5 

TWO REMARKS DURING THE DEBATE 
ON THE QUESTION OF THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS 
APRIL 22 (MAY 5) 

I 

Since we have proportional representation, there is no 
need for a bloc; the minority is protected. I emphatically 
disagree with Comrade Kalinin, because a bloc with the petty 
bourgeoisie, with the chauvinists, is unthinkable. The 
very idea of a bloc with the petty bourgeoisie, who are sup- 
ported by the capitalists, is a betrayal of socialism. With 
whom are we to form blocs, with the editors of Internatsion- 
a/ 68 ? But this paper has not been published yet, and 
therefore we do not know them. Chkheidze is defencism's 
worst mask. Trotsky, when editing his paper in Paris, never 
made it clear whether he was for or against Chkheidze. 
We have always spoken against Chkheidze, because he is a 
subtle mask for chauvinism. Trotsky has never made him- 
self clear. How do we know that Larin, the editor of Inter- 
natsional, does not follow the same tactics? 

We must come forward with a definite programme. A 
struggle is now on among three parties: the first is the party 
of robbers and killers; the second is the party that shields 
these robbers with fine words, and finally, the third party, 
the party that refuses to support the robbers and stands for 
exposing the mistakes made by everybody, the Executive 
Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
included. 

The fault of the Soviet is not that it didn't assume power, 
but that it teaches the people the wrong things, it shouts 
about its victory over the government. 



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II 

I am decidedly in favour of placing on our tickets the 
names of the Menshevik candidates who are breaking with 
chauvinism. This is no bloc. As far as parties are concerned, 
Russia is remarkably well organised. About a programme: 
the question of a paid militia, the question of food supply, 
the question of taxes — all these are important. 

First published in 1925 Published according 

in the book The Petrograd City to the typewritten copy 

and the All-Russia Conferences of the Minutes 

of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks), 
April 1917 



158 



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6 

RESOLUTION ON THE MUNICIPAL QUESTION 

Under no circumstances can the municipal platform, 
particularly at the present revolutionary time, be reduced 
only to communal questions. 

It must also contain a definite answer to all present-day 
key issues, especially those concerning the war and the 
tasks of the proletariat in regard to the central power. 

Even in municipal questions, such as that of the militia, 
food supply, housing, and taxes, we cannot expect the petty- 
bourgeois parties to agree to revolutionary measures neces- 
sary to combat war and its consequences. 

For all these reasons we must go to the elections without 
blocs, upon a straight issue of principles announced in the 
programme of the proletarian party, and explain to the people 
the fundamental differences between the three main party 
divisions, namely, (1) the Cadets and those to the right of 
them; (2) the parties of the petty bourgeoisie (Narodniks) 
and a section of workers who have fallen under the influence 
of the bourgeoisie (the Menshevik defencists); (3) the party 
of the revolutionary proletariat (the Bolsheviks). 

The technical arrangements for the elections based on 
the system of proportional representation make blocs 
technically unnecessary. 

It is advisable in every way to encourage closer relations 
and mutual exchange of opinions, on the basis of practical 
work, with those Mensheviks who are really breaking with 
revolutionary defencism and with support of the Provisional 
Government. With such comrades it is permissible to run 
a joint ticket, on condition that there be sufficient agreement 
on fundamentals. A concrete municipal programme should 
be worked out, particularly on the question of a proletarian 
militia to be paid for by the capitalists. 

Pravda No. 46, May 15 (2), 1917 Published according to the text 

of the typewritten copy of the Minutes 
verified with the text of Pravda 



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7 

DRAFT RESOLUTION ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE 
PARTIES OF THE SOCIALIST-REVOLUTIONARIES, 
THE MENSHEVIK SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS, 
THE "NON-FACTION" SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS 
AND OTHER KINDRED POLITICAL TRENDS 

Taking into consideration: 

(1) that the parties of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, 
Menshevik Social-Democrats, etc., have, in the great ma- 
jority of cases, adopted the stand of "revolutionary defen- 
cism" and voted for the loan, that is, in support of the im- 
perialist war waged by the imperialist government of the 
capitalists — Guchkov, Lvov and Co.; 

(2) that these parties are supporting the Provisional 
Government, which represents the interests of Capital and 
which has taken a counter-revolutionary stand in domestic 
as well as foreign policy; 

(3) that these parties have allowed themselves to be de- 
ceived by the capitalists, and, in their turn, are deceiving 
the people with false hopes of being able, by means of "de- 
mands" and "control" of the Provisional Government, and 
without wielding state power, to change the class nature of 
the government of the capitalists and wean it away from 
the imperialist policy now needed by the capitalists and from 
counter-revolutionary attempts against liberty; 

(4) that the resultant attempt to obscure the class- 
consciousness of the proletarians and semi-proletarians, 
which these parties are encouraging, is, in view of the general 
attitude of unreasoning trust on the part of the masses to- 
wards the capitalists, who are now acting chiefly by decep- 
tion and flattery, the principal reason for the revolution 



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hanging fire and for its possible defeat by the forces of the 
landowner and bourgeois counter-revolution, 
the Conference resolves that: 

(1) the voting in favour of the loan and advocacy of revo- 
lutionary defencism in general be considered a gross betrayal 
of socialism, of the proletarian class struggle and of the 
principles of internationalism, i.e., the fraternal union of 
the workers of all countries against the capitalists of all 
countries; 

(2) the above-named parties be considered as acting in 
the interests and upholding the point of view of the petty 
bourgeoisie and corrupting the proletariat with bourgeois 
influence; 

(3) unity with parties, as a whole, which are pursuing 
a policy of support for the Provisional Government, are 
advocating revolutionary defencism, etc., be considered 
absolutely impossible in view of the fact that these parties 
have abandoned the proletarian class position for a petty- 
bourgeois position; 

(4) in regard to certain local groups of workers who are 
aligned with the Mensheviks, etc., but who strive to uphold 
the position of internationalism against "revolutionary 
defencism" and against voting for the loan, etc., the policy 
of our Party should be to support such workers and groups, 
to seek closer relations with them, and support unity with 
them on the basis of a definite break with the petty-bourgeois 
betrayal of socialism. 

First published in 1925 Published according 

in the book The Petrograd City to the typewritten copy 

and the All-Russia Conferences of the Minutes 
of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks), April 1917 



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8 

DRAFT RESOLUTION ON THE WAR 
I 

The present war is, on the part of both groups of the 
belligerent powers, an imperialist war, i.e., one waged by 
the capitalists for world domination, for division of the 
capitalists' spoils, for profitable markets for finance and 
banking capital, and for the subjugation of the weaker na- 
tionalities. 

The transfer of state power in Russia from Nicholas II to 
the government of Guchkov, Lvov, and others, to the govern- 
ment of the landowners and capitalists, did not and could 
not alter the class character and meaning of the war as far as 
Russia is concerned. 

The fact that the new government is carrying on the 
same imperialist war, i.e., an aggressive war of conquest, 
became glaringly apparent when the government not only 
failed to publish the secret treaties between ex-Tsar Nicholas II 
and the capitalist governments of Britain, France, etc., 
but even formally confirmed these treaties. This was done 
without consulting the will of the people and with the 
express purpose of deceiving them, for it is well known that 
the secret treaties concluded by the ex-tsar are outrageously 
predatory treaties that give the Russian capitalists a free 
hand to rob China, Persia, Turkey, Austria, etc. 

For this reason no proletarian party that does not wish 
to break completely with internationalism, i.e., with the 
fraternal solidarity of the workers of all countries in their 
struggle against the yoke of Capital, can support the 



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present war, or the present government, or its loans, no 
matter in what glowing terms these loans may be described. 

Nor can any trust be placed in the present government's 
promise to renounce annexations, i.e., the conquest of 
foreign countries or the forcible retention of any nationality 
within the confines of Russia. For, in the first place, the 
capitalists, bound together by the thousand threads of 
Russian and Anglo-French banking capital, and intent on 
protecting the interests of capital, cannot renounce annexa- 
tions in this war without at the same time ceasing to be 
capitalists, without renouncing the profits from the thou- 
sands of millions invested in loans, concessions, war indus- 
tries, etc. And secondly, the new government, after re- 
nouncing annexations to mislead the people, declared through 
Milyukov (Moscow, April 9, 1917) that it had no intention 
of renouncing them. Finally, as revealed by Dyelo Naroda, 
a newspaper in which Minister Kerensky co-operates, Milyu- 
kov has not even sent his statement on the renunciation 
of annexations to other countries. 

Therefore, in warning the people against the capitalists' 
empty promises, the Conference declares that it is necessary 
to make a clear distinction between a renunciation of annexa- 
tions in word and a renunciation of annexations in deed, 
i.e., the immediate publication of all the secret predatory 
treaties, of all acts of foreign policy, and the taking of im- 
mediate steps to fully liberate all peoples who are being 
oppressed, kept bound to Russia by force or kept in a state 
of subjection by the capitalist class, which is continuing 
the policy of ex-Tsar Nicholas II, a policy that is a disgrace 
to our nation. 

II 

The "revolutionary defencism", which in Russia has now 
permeated almost all the Narodnik parties (the Popular 
Socialists, Trudoviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries), the oppor- 
tunist party of the Menshevik Social-Democrats (the Organ- 
ising Committee, Chkheidze, Tsereteli, etc.), and the 
majority of the non-party revolutionaries, reflects, in point 
of class significance, the interests and point of view of 
the petty bourgeoisie, the small proprietors, and the well-to- 



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do peasants, who, like the capitalists, profit by oppressing 
weak peoples. On the other hand, it is a result of the decep- 
tion of the masses by the capitalists, who instead of publish- 
ing the secret treaties confine themselves to promises and 
glib talk. 

It must be admitted that the great mass of "revolutionary 
defencists" are honest, i.e., they are really opposed to annexa- 
tions, to conquests, to oppressing weak peoples; they 
are really working for a democratic non-coercive peace 
among all the belligerents. This must be admitted for the 
reason that the class position of the urban and rural pro- 
letarians and semi-proletarians (i.e., of the people who 
earn their living, wholly or partly, by selling their labour- 
power to the capitalists) makes these classes uninterested in 
capitalist profits. 

Therefore, while recognising that any concessions to 
"revolutionary defencism" are absolutely impermissible and 
virtually signify a complete break with internationalism and 
socialism, the Conference declares that our Party will preach 
abstention from violence as long as the Russian capitalists 
and their Provisional Government confine themselves to 
threats of violence against the people (for example, Guchkov's 
unhappily notorious decree threatening the soldiers with 
punishment for arbitrary displacement of superiors), as 
long as the capitalists have not started using violence against 
the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', Agricultural 
Labourers', and other Deputies, which organise themselves 
freely, and freely elect and dismiss all public officers. Our 
Party will fight against the profound and fatal error of 
"revolutionary defencism" solely by means of comradely 
persuasion, bringing home the truth that the attitude of 
unreasoning trust of the broad masses in the government of the 
capitalists, who are the worst enemies of peace and socialism, 
is, in present-day Russia, the chief obstacle to a speedy 
termination of the war. 

Ill 

As for that most important issue of all, namely, how to 
end the war — a criminal, predatory capitalist war that has 
brought mankind to the brink of ruin, famine and destruc- 



164 



V. I. LENIN 



tion — as quickly as possible, by a truly democratic, non- 
coercive peace, the Conference recognises and declares the 
following: 

It is utterly senseless to suppose that this war can be ended 
by a unilateral refusal of the soldiers of any one country to 
continue the war, by a unilateral cessation of military oper- 
ations, by the mere act of "sticking the bayonet into the 
ground". 

Our Party will patiently but persistently explain to 
the people the truth that wars are waged by governments, 
that wars are always indissolubly bound up with the policies of 
definite classes, and, therefore, this war, started by crowned 
brigands, by monarchs like Nicholas II, and by uncrowned 
brigands — the capitalists, can be terminated by a truly 
democratic, non-coercive peace only when the entire state 
power passes to a class that is really not interested in safe- 
guarding capitalist profits, to the class of the proletarians 
and semi-proletarians, which is really capable of putting an 
end to the oppressive rule of Capital. 

This class alone is capable of really renouncing annexa- 
tions, of breaking free from the meshes of finance and banking 
capital, and, under certain circumstances, not merely in 
word but in deed, converting this predatory war into a 
revolutionary proletarian war, a war aimed, not at crushing 
weak peoples, but to free the workers and peasants of the 
whole world from the yoke of Capital. 

The Conference reiterates its protests against the base 
slander spread by the capitalists against our Party to the 
effect that we are in favour of a separate peace with Germany. 
We consider the German capitalists to be as predatory as 
the Russian, British, French, and other capitalists, and 
Emperor Wilhelm II to be as bad a crowned brigand as 
Nicholas II or the British, Italian, Rumanian, and all other 
monarchs. We have proclaimed this view of our Party not 
only in Russian but also in German, in the translation of 
Zinoviev's and Lenin's pamphlet Socialism and War* 

Moreover, as editors of the Central Organ of our Party, 
and in the name of the Party, the above-named comrades 
had declared (Sotsial-Demokrat, Geneva, October 13, 1915, 



See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 301-06.— Ed. 



PETROGRAD CITY CONFERENCE 



165 



No. 47) that if the revolution placed our Party in power 
while the war was still on, we would forthwith propose 
openly to Germany, together with all the other nations, a non- 
coercive, i.e., democratic, peace, and that in the event of 
the German, British, French and other capitalists declining 
such a peace, we would ourselves start a revolutionary war, 
and call upon the workers of all countries to join us* 

The Conference fully endorses this declaration. 

The Conference takes cognisance of the fact that in no 
other belligerent country in the world is there such freedom 
as there now is in Russia, or such revolutionary mass organ- 
isations as the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', 
and other Deputies; and that nowhere else in the world, 
therefore, can the transfer of the entire state power to the 
actual majority of the people, i.e., to the workers and poor 
peasants, be achieved so easily and so peacefully. 

The Conference declares that the money for the soldiers' 
upkeep should be raised not by loans, which only enrich the 
capitalists, but by imposing high income and property taxes 
on the capitalists. 

The Conference declares that so long as the majority of 
the people, though enjoying complete freedom of agitation 
and propaganda, have not yet come to realise how closely 
this war is bound up with capitalist interests, there is only 
one practical means of bringing this butchery of peoples to 
a speedy end. 

This means is fraternisation at the front. 

The Conference calls attention to the fact that even Novoye 
Vremya, that servile mouthpiece of the capitalist interests, 
admits in a telegram from Kiev dated April 12 that frater- 
nisation has started at the front. Numerous reports from sol- 
dier delegates to the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies in Petrograd confirm this. 

By starting to fraternise, the Russian and German sol 
iers, the proletarians and peasants of both countries dressed 
in soldiers' uniforms, have proved to the whole world that 
intuitively the classes oppressed by the capitalists have 
discovered the right road to the cessation of the butchery of 
peoples. 



See present edition, Vol. 21, p. 404.— Ed. 



166 



V. I. LENIN 



By fraternisation we understand, first, the publication 
of proclamations in the Russian and the German languages 
for distribution at the front; second, the holding of meetings 
between the Russian and the German soldiers at the front 
with the aid of interpreters, these to be arranged in such 
a way that the capitalists, and the generals and officers of 
both countries, who for the most part are of the capitalist 
class, will not dare to interfere with these meetings, will 
not dare even to attend them without the direct and special 
permission of the soldiers. 

These proclamations and meetings must make clear the 
above-stated views on war and peace, must bring home the 
fact that if the state power in the two countries, Germany 
and Russia, were to pass wholly and exclusively into the 
hands of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, 
the whole of humanity would heave a sigh of relief, for then 
we would really be assured of a speedy termination of the 
war, of a really lasting, truly democratic peace among all 
the nations, and, at the same time, the transition of all 
countries to socialism. 



Written between April 15 and 22 
(April 28 and May 5), 1917 

First published in 1927 Published according 

in the second and third editions to the typewritten copy 

of Lenin's Collected Works, with Lenin's corrections 
Vol. XX 



167 



CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 69 

A Congress of representatives of peasants' organisations 
and Soviets of Peasants' Deputies, who have met to draw up 
regulations for the convocation of an All-Russia Soviet of 
Peasants' Deputies and to set up similar local Soviets, has 
been in session in the Taurida Palace since April 13. 

According to Dyelo Naroda, representatives from more 
than 20 gubernias are attending the Congress. 

Resolutions have been adopted urging the need for the 
speediest organisation of the "peasantry" from bottom to 
"top". "Soviets of Peasants' Deputies functioning in the var- 
ious areas" have been declared to be the "best form of organ- 
isation of the peasantry". 

Bykhovsky, a member of the provisional bureau for the 
convocation of the present Congress, has pointed out that a 
decision to organise the peasantry by setting up an All- 
Russia Soviet of Peasants' Deputies had been taken by the 
Moscow Co-operative Congress, 70 representing an organised 
membership of twelve million, or fifty million of the 
population. 

This is an undertaking of tremendous importance, which 
must be given every support. If it is carried out without 
delay, if the peasantry, in spite of Shingaryov, takes over 
all the land immediately by a majority decision and not by 
"voluntary agreement" with the landowners as he would have 
it, then not only the soldiers, who would receive more bread 
and meat, but also the cause of freedom would gain by it. 

For the organisation of the peasants, carried out from 
below without the officials and without the "control and 
supervision" of the landowners and their hangers-on, is the 
only reliable pledge of success for the revolution, for freedom, 



168 



V. I. LENIN 



for the liberation of Russia from the yoke and bondage of 
the landowners. 

There is no doubt that all members of our Party, all class- 
conscious workers, will do their utmost to support the organ- 
isation of Soviets of Peasants' Deputies, will see to it that 
their numbers are increased and their strength consolidated, 
and will exert every effort to work inside these Soviets along 
consistent and strictly proletarian class lines. 

To carry on this work, it is necessary to organise separately 
the proletarian elements (agricultural labourers, day- 
labourers, etc.) within the general peasant Soviets, or 
(sometimes and) set up separate Soviets of Agricultural La- 
bourers' Deputies. 

Our object is not to scatter forces; on the contrary, in 
order to strengthen and broaden the movement, we must 
arouse the "lowest" — to use the terminology of the landowners 
and capitalists — section of society, or, more correctly, class. 

To build up the movement, we must free it from the 
influence of the bourgeoisie; we must try to rid it of the 
inevitable weaknesses, vacillations, and mistakes of the 
petty bourgeoisie. 

This work must be done by means of friendly persuasion, 
without anticipating events, without hurrying to "consoli- 
date" organisationally that which the representatives of the 
rural proletarians and semi-proletarians have not yet fully 
realised, thought out, and digested for themselves. But it 
must be done, and a start must be made at once every- 
where. 

The practical demands and slogans, or, more properly, 
the proposals that have to be made to gain the attention: 
of the peasants, should be based on vital and urgent 
issues. 

The first issue is that of the land. The rural proletarians 
will be for the complete and immediate transfer of all the 
land without exception to the whole people, and for its being 
taken over immediately by the local committees. But you 
cannot eat land. The millions of households that have no 
horses, implements, or seeds will gain nothing from the 
transfer of the land to the "people". 

The question of continuing to run the big farms, wherever 
at all possible large-scale enterprises, directed by agri- 



CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



169 



cultural experts and the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' 
Deputies and using the best machines, seeds, and most 
efficient farming methods, must be discussed and practical 
measures taken without delay. 

We cannot conceal from the peasants, least of all from the 
rural proletarians and semi-proletarians, that small-scale 
farming under commodity economy and capitalism cannot 
rid humanity of mass poverty, that it is necessary to think 
about going over to large-scale farming conducted on public 
lines and to tackle this job at once by teaching the masses, 
and in turn learning from the masses, the practical expedient 
measures for bringing about such a transition. 

Another vital and pressing issue is that of the organisation 
and administration of the state. It is not enough to preach 
democracy, not enough to proclaim it and decree it, not 
enough to entrust the people's "representatives" in repre- 
sentative institutions with its implementation. Democracy 
must be built at once, from below, through the initiative 
of the masses themselves, through their effective participa- 
tion in all fields of state activity, without "supervision" from 
above, without the bureaucracy. 

Replacement of the police, the bureaucracy, and the stand- 
ing army by the universal arming of the whole people, by 
a universal militia of the entire people, women included, is 
a practical job that can and should be tackled immediately. 
The more initiative, variety, daring, and creativeness the 
masses contribute to this, the better. Not only the rural 
proletarians and semi-proletarians, but nine-tenths of the 
peasantry probably will follow us if we explain our propos- 
als clearly, simply, and intelligibly by demonstrating exam- 
ples and lessons from real life. Our proposals are: 

— not to allow the restoration of the police; 

— not to allow the restoration of the absolute powers of 
officials who, in effect, are undisplaceable and who belong 
to the landowner or capitalist class; 

— not to allow the restoration of a standing army sepa- 
rated from the people, for such an army is the surest guar- 
antee that attempts of all kinds will be made to stamp out 
freedom and restore the monarchy; 

— to teach the people, down to the very bottom, the art 
of government not only in theory but in practice, by begin- 



170 



V. I. LENIN 



ning to make immediate use everywhere of the experience 
of the masses. 

Democracy from below, democracy without an officialdom, 
without a police, without a standing army; voluntary social 
duty by a militia formed from a universally armed people — 
this is a guarantee of freedom which no tsars, no swash- 
buckling generals, and no capitalists can take away. 



Pravda No. 34, April 16, 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



171 



ON THE RETURN OF THE EMIGRANTS 

Today's papers have published a telegram over the sig- 
natures of P. B. Axelrod, L. Martov, Ryazanov, Lunachar- 
sky, and Natanson, reading: 

"We find it absolutely impossible to return to Russia via 
England." 

Another telegram signed by Mandelberg, member of the 
Second Duma, Professor Reichesberg, Felix Kon, Ustinov, 
Balabanova, Andronnikov, and others, reads: 

"We see A way out in an agreement between the Russian and Ger- 
man governments ... for an exchange of internees ... in return for the 
liberation of a corresponding number of German civilians interned in 
Russia." 

Why shouldn't the gentlemen of Russkaya Volya and 
Yedinstvo declare these political emigrants, too, to be German 
agents? 



Pravda No. 34, April 16, 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



172 



OUR VIEWS 

A REPLY TO THE RESOLUTION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 
OF THE SOVIET OF SOLDIERS' DEPUTIES 

The newspapers for April 16 carried the following reso- 
lution: 

"Having discussed comrades' reports concerning the spread of dis- 
ruptive propaganda carried on under a revolutionary and often even 
under a Social-Democratic banner, particularly propaganda by those 
who call themselves Leninists; regarding such propaganda to be no 
less harmful than any other counter-revolutionary propaganda from 
the right; and realising at the same time that it is impossible to take 
repressive measures against propaganda so long as it remains merely 
propaganda, the Executive Commission of the Soviet of Soldiers' 
Deputies considers it essential that measures should be taken to coun- 
teract this propaganda by our own propaganda and agitation. We must 
make our organisations strong enough to be able at any moment 
to meet any counter-revolutionary action, no matter where it comes 
from, by effective actions of our own. We express our earnest wish that 
the Executive Committee launch a systematic campaign in the press, 
and especially in the army units, against the disruptive propaganda." 

If we compare this resolution with the statement made 
in Izvestias leading article (for April 17) against the "dis- 
honourable and outrageous persecution", we see at once 
the political division on the subject which has made itself 
manifest in practice, namely: Russkaya Volya, the chief 
hounding agency; Mr. Plekhanov's Yedinstvo, which repeats 
"such a method of struggle"; both recognized as such by 
Dyelo Naroda. 

A different stand is taken by the Executive Commission 
of the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies, which simply declares 
that "it is impossible to take repressive measures against 
propaganda so long as it remains merely propaganda". 



OUR VIEWS 



173 



That is why we reprint the resolution of the Executive 
Commission in full and consider it useful to examine it on 
its merits. 

The resolution declares Lenin's propaganda to be "no 
less harmful than any other counter-revolutionary propaganda 
from the right". 

Let us examine the gist of the differences between (1) 
counter-revolutionary propaganda from the right, (2) the 
propaganda for and in support of the Provisional Govern- 
ment, and (3) our own propaganda. 

The Rights are out for the overthrow of the Provisional 
Government and the restoration of the monarchy. 

The Provisional Government has promised to act in agree- 
ment with the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies. 

Our propaganda is: all power in the state to be turned 
over to the Soviets alone, because the Soviets unquestionably 
represent the overwhelming majority of the nation. To 
achieve this, we want by "explanation" (as Lenin distinctly 
stated in his theses* the very first day) to make the major- 
ity of the nation see the necessity for such a transfer of 
power. 

The Rights, then, are for a monarchic government. The 
capitalists are for a capitalist government (for that is what 
the Provisional Government is); they promise to act in 
agreement with the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies. 

We want to convince the majority of the people that power 
must reside solely in the Soviets. 

It is perfectly obvious that even from the point of view 
of those who advocate an agreement with the Provisional 
Government, our propaganda cannot be regarded as "no less 
harmful than any other counter-revolutionary propaganda 
from the right". The advocates of an agreement now have the 
backing of the majority of the people! How then can they 
maintain that our propaganda urging the majority to take 
over all the power is "no less harmful than propaganda from 
the right"? 

This is a glaring inconsistency. 



See p. 23 of this volume. — Ed. 



174 



V. I. LENIN 



The Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies can hardly uphold this 
view of its Executive Commission for long. 
To proceed. 

What essentially are our differences? 
We differ mainly on three points: 

1. On the question of the land. We are for the peasants 
taking all the land immediately by a decision of their own 
majority in each locality, thus increasing production of 
grain and meat for the soldiers. 

The Provisional Government is for an "agreement" between 
the peasants and the landowners, i.e., an "agreement" be- 
tween three hundred peasants and one landowner. 

The future will show whether the majority of the people are 
with us or with the Provisional Government on this question. 

2. We are for a republic where, from the bottom up, there 
will be no police, no standing army (instead of a standing 
army, we believe, there should be a universal arming of the 
whole people), no bureaucracy, who, in effect, are undis- 
placeable and privileged by high bourgeois, salaries. We 
want all public officers to be elective and displaceable at 
any time, and their pay to be on a proletarian scale. 

The Provisional Government is for restoring the police 
of the usual type; it is for a standing army, for the usual kind 
of officials. 

3. The Provisional Government is for continuing the war 
and the kind of war which Nicholas the Bloody started. The 
Provisional Government is for confirming the secret, pred- 
atory treaties concluded by him without consulting the will 
of the people and even without making them public. 

We are against such a war, we are against the confirma- 
tion of the treaties, against their non-publication. 

We urge all nations, without exception, to put an end to 
the war by concluding, not a coercive, but a truly democrat- 
ic peace, that would give freedom to all nations and nation- 
alities. We want to show the people that in order to end 
the war by a truly non-coercive peace it is necessary that 
the state power be placed wholly and exclusively in the 
hands of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 
For so long as the capitalists and landowners (Guchkov, 
Lvov, Milyukov) are in power, the war will remain a capital- 
ist-directed one, all promises of peace without annexations 



OUR VIEWS 



175 



will remain mere promises, and distrust of the capitalists' 
government on the part of the world's working masses will 
continue; and that means the war will drag on. 

Question: What if the state power in Russia passed to 
the Soviets but Germany failed to effect a revolution that 
would rid it of both Wilhelm II and the German Guchkovs 
and Milyukovs (for if the German Nicholas II were replaced 
by the German Guchkovs and Milyukovs, there would be no 
change whatever as far as the war is concerned)? 

Our answer is: Power in the hands of the Soviets of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies would be the power of the majority 
of the people, and that majority consists of workers and poor 
peasants. They are really not interested in annexations, 
they will renounce them not in word, but in deed; they 
will really stop being watchdogs of the capitalists' profits. 

Under such conditions we too would agree to a revolution- 
ary war against the capitalists of any country, because that 
would really be a war against the interests of Capital in 
general, and not a war in the interest of the capitalists of 
one particular country. 

Question: How can we advance the cause of peace right 
now, immediately and practically, if it is impossible to end 
the war by simply sticking the bayonets into the ground? 

Our answer is: The war cannot be terminated by the simple 
expedient of sticking the bayonets into the ground, or 
generally by the unilateral withdrawal of any of the warring 
nations. There is, and can be, only one practical and imme- 
diate way of hastening peace (apart from the victory of the 
workers' revolution over the capitalists), and that is the 
fraternisation of the soldiers at the front. 

We must immediately, in the most energetic manner, and 
by all the means at our disposal encourage fraternisation 
of the soldiers of both warring groups at the front. 

This fraternisation has already begun. Let us help it along. 

These are our views. We are firmly convinced that the 
majority of the people will not say that they are "no less 
harmful than any other counter-revolutionary propaganda 
from the right". 



Pravda No. 35, May 1 
(April 18), 1917 
Signed: N. Lenin 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



176 



HOW THEY TIED THEMSELVES 
TO THE CAPITALISTS 

In its editorial of April 17, Finansovaya Gazeta, 11 organ 
of the big capitalists and banks, discloses a fact of stu- 
pendous importance, namely, how the parties of the Social- 
ist-Revolutionaries, the Menshevik Social-Democrats, etc., 
have bound themselves hand and foot by tying themselves 
to the capitalists through their notorious "agreement" 
with the Provisional Government. 

Here is the full text of the article: 



THE LEFTS AND THE LOAN 

The Liberty Loan issued by the Provisional Government has not 
evoked in Left-wing circles the enthusiasm that it has met with among 
the population at large. 

The Left-wing press has split up into three groups. Lenin's Pravda 
has come out definitely against the Loan, expressing the point of view 
of the Bolsheviks. Plekhanov's Yedinstvo strongly supports the Loan. 
Finally, the other organs of the socialist press — Rabochaya Gazeta, 
Zemlya i Volya, and Volya Naroda — have taken a "middle" stand, nei- 
ther here nor there; they are not exactly for the Loan, nor are they 
exactly against it. This is the position also of the Soviet of Soldiers' 
and Workers' Deputies, which decided to support the Loan in princi- 
ple, but is now having its doubts and is wavering. Dyen was right when 
It recently reproved this central and most powerful group, which 
includes the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, for its uncer- 
tain and ambiguous stand. 

As if to confirm the justice of this reproof, the Soviet of Soldiers' 
and Workers' Deputies yesterday again returned to the once settled 
question of the Loan and had a discussion about it. N. S. Chkheidze 
announced that the government was expected shortly to issue a new 
statement exhaustively explaining its stand on issues of foreign and 
domestic policy. Until then, N. S. Chkheidze proposed that consider- 
ation of the question of supporting the Loan be postponed. 



HOW THEY TIED THEMSELVES TO THE CAPITALISTS 



177 



This attitude of the Lefts is puzzling, to say the least. After all, 
someone has to run the government and carry out the reforms which 
suffering Russia has been craving for. 

One of the two: either the present government enjoys the confidence 
of the Lefts, having so far done nothing to shirk the obligations 
it has assumed; or it does not enjoy such confidence. In the 
latter case, the Lefts, in withdrawing their support of the Provisional 
Government, must take upon themselves not only "control" over its 
activities, but the whole burden of government and responsibility 
before the people and history. If, however, they cannot blame the Pro- 
visional Government for anything that it has done up to now, then 
naturally, they have no right to wait for its future statements and should 
give it their full support. In any case, this equivocalness, this evasive 
reticence, these mental reservations on their part are quite intolerable. 
On the one hand, this does not in the least lighten the responsibility 
of the Provisional Government, which cannot even plead isolation 
against the verdict of history; on the other, this practically deprives 
the government of the support of the broad democratic masses and 
thus puts it in a difficult position. 

Straightforwardness has always been a primary virtue of socialist 
trends. Socialist parties have always eschewed a policy of evasion, phi- 
listine spinelessness, and elastic opportunism. But now, in the question 
of the Loan, the central groups of Russian socialism have abandoned 
these traditional principles of theirs and taken to the path of Octobrist 72 
pussyfooting. Public opinion has a right to ask that they make their 
attitude on the question of the Loan perfectly clear, that they honestly 
and openly declare their participation or non-participation in it and 
thus fulfil their moral obligation to the Provisional Government, 
which means, either to give it the backing of the Left groups or to make 
known their disagreement with it. 

The bank bosses are men of business. They take a sane 
view of politics: once you've promised to support the capi- 
talist government (which is conducting an imperialist war), 
then come across with the Loan. 

Correct! Having bound themselves hand and foot, the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks have meekly 
surrendered to the capitalists. The government's promise 
"shortly to issue a new statement exhaustively [!] explaining 
[it has been by now explained more than enough!] its 
stand on issues of foreign and domestic policy" is nothing 
but an empty phrase. 

No "statements" in the form of declarations, assurances, 
or pronunciamentos will alter the fact of the matter. 
And the fact of the matter is that the capitalist government 
of Lvov, Guchkov, Milyukov and Co. represents the interests 
of capitalism, is bound up with those interests, and cannot 



178 



V. I. LENIN 



(even if it wanted to) break free from the imperialist, 
annexationist policies of conquest. 

To gain the "backing" of the "Lefts" by means of empty 
non-committal phrases, that is, to use the authority of the 
Lefts to bolster up its imperialist policy without receding 
a step from it — this is what our imperialist government is 
trying to do, this is what, objectively, Chkheidze and his 
friends are helping it to do. 

"Octobrist pussyfooting" — what a winged little phrase! 
This is not only a practical, but also a correct evaluation of 
the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik political line 
by people who really know what it's all about. 



Pravda No. 36, May 3 
(April 20), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



179 



A PROLETARIAN MILITIA 

On April 14 our paper published a report from a corre- 
spondent in Kanavino, Nizhni-Novgorod Gubernia, to the 
effect that "a workers' militia paid for by the factory man- 
agements has been introduced at practically all the factories" . 

Kanavino district, our correspondent reports, has sixteen 
factories and about thirty thousand workers, not counting 
railway employees. The organisation of a workers' militia 
paid for by the capitalists therefore embraces a considerable 
number of the largest enterprises in the locality. 

The organisation of a workers' militia to be paid for by the 
capitalists is a measure of tremendous — it will be no exag- 
geration to say, gigantic and decisive — importance, both 
practically and in principle. The revolution cannot be 
made safe, its gains cannot be assured, its further develop- 
ment is impossible, until this measure has become general, 
until it is carried through all over the country. 

The bourgeois and landowner republicans, who turned 
republican after they saw that it was impossible to rule the 
people otherwise, are trying to establish a republic that 
would be as monarchical as possible; something like that in 
France, which Shchedrin called a republic without repub- 
licans. 73 

At the present time, when the landowners and capitalists 
have come to realise the strength of the revolutionary masses, 
the most important thing for them is to safeguard the most 
essential institutions of the old regime, to safeguard the old 
instruments of oppression: the police, the bureaucracy, 
the standing army. They are trying to reduce the "civil 
militia" to an institution of the old type, i.e., to small 
detachments of armed men standing apart from the people 



180 



V. I. LENIN 



and as close as possible to the bourgeoisie and under the 
command of men from among the bourgeoisie. 

The minimum programme of the Social-Democrats calls 
for the replacement of the standing army by a universal 
arming of the people. Most of the official Social-Democrats 
in Europe and most of our own Menshevik leaders, however, 
have "forgotten" or put aside the Party's programme, sub- 
stituting chauvinism ("defencism") for internationalism, 
reformism for revolutionary tactics. 

Yet now of all times, at the present revolutionary moment, 
it is most urgent and essential that there be a universal 
arming of the people. To assert that, while we have a revolu- 
tionary army, there is no need to arm the proletariat, or 
that there would "not be enough" arms to go round, is mere 
deception and trickery. The thing is to begin organising a 
universal militia straight away, so that everyone should 
learn the use of arms even if there is "not enough" to go round, 
for it is not at all necessary that the people have enough 
weapons to arm everybody. The people must learn, one and 
all, how to use arms, they must belong, one and all, to the 
militia which is to replace the police and the standing army. 

The workers do not want an army standing apart from the 
people; what they want is that the workers and soldiers 
should merge into a single militia consisting of all the people. 

Failing this, the apparatus of oppression will remain 
in force, ready today to serve Guchkov and his friends, the 
counter-revolutionary generals, and tomorrow Radko Dmit- 
riev or some pretender to the throne and builder of a 
plebiscite monarchy. 

The capitalists need a republic now, because they cannot 
"manage" the people otherwise. But what they need is a 
"parliamentary" republic, i.e., one where democracy would 
be limited to democratic elections, to the right of sending 
to parliament individuals who, as Marx aptly remarked, 
represent the people and oppress the people. 74 

The opportunists of contemporary Social-Democracy, who 
have substituted Scheidemann for Marx, have memorised 
the rule that parliamentarism "should be utilised" (which is 
absolutely correct), but have forgotten what Marx taught 
concerning proletarian democracy as distinguished from 
bourgeois parliamentarism. 



A PROLETARIAN MILITIA 



181 



The people need a republic in order to educate the masses 
in the methods of democracy. We need not only representa- 
tion along democratic lines, but the building of the entire 
state administration from the bottom up by the masses 
themselves, their effective participation in all of life's steps, 
their active role in the administration. Replacement of the 
old organs of oppression, the police, the bureaucracy, the 
standing army, by a universal arming of the people, by 
a really universal militia, is the only way to guarantee the 
country a maximum of security against the restoration of 
the monarchy and to enable it to go forward firmly, system- 
atically and resolutely towards socialism, not by "intro- 
ducing" it from above, but by raising the vast mass of pro- 
letarians and semi-proletarians to the art of state adminis- 
tration, to the use of the whole state power. 

Public service through a police standing above the people, 
through bureaucrats, who are the most faithful servants of 
the bourgeoisie, and through a standing army under the com- 
mand of landowners and capitalists — that is the ideal of 
the bourgeois parliamentary republic, which is out to 
perpetuate the rule of Capital. 

Public service through a really universal people's militia, 
composed of men and women, a militia capable partly of 
replacing the bureaucrats — this, combined with the principle 
of elective office and displaceability of all public officers, 
with payment for their work according to proletarian, not 
"master-class", bourgeois standards, is the ideal of the 
working class. 

This ideal has not only become a part of our programme, 
it has not only won a place in the history of the labour 
movement in the West, namely, in the experience of the Paris 
Commune; it has not only been evaluated, stressed, explained 
and recommended by Marx, but it was actually put into 
practice by the Russian workers in the years 1905 and 1917. 

The Soviets of Workers' Deputies, in point of significance, 
in point of the type of government they create, are insti- 
tutions of precisely that kind of democracy which does 
away with the old organs of oppression, and takes the 
road of a universal militia. 

But how can the militia be made universal when the pro- 
letarians and semi-proletarians are herded in the factories, 



182 



V. I. LENIN 



crushed by unbearable labour for the landowners and the 
capitalists? 

There is only one way: the workers' militia must be paid 
for by the capitalists. 

The capitalists must pay the workers for the hours and 
days which they give to public service. 

This reliable method is being adopted by the working 
masses themselves. The example of the Nizhni-Novgorod 
workers should become a model for all Russia. 

Comrade workers, make the peasants and the rest of the 
people see the need for a universal militia in place of the 
police and the old bureaucracy! Introduce such and only 
such a militia! Introduce it through the Soviets of Workers' 
Deputies, through the Soviets of Peasants' Deputies, through 
the organs of local self-government that fall into the hands 
of the working class. Do not under any circumstances be 
content with a bourgeois militia. Draw the women into 
public service on an equal footing with the men. See to it 
that the capitalists pay the workers for days devoted to 
public service in the militia! 

Learn the methods of democracy by actual practice, 
right now, on your own, from the bottom up — rouse the 
masses to effective, immediate, universal participation in 
government — this and this alone will assure the full triumph 
of the revolution and its unswerving, purposeful and system- 
atic advance. 



Pravda No. 36, 
May 3 (April 20), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



183 



BANKRUPTCY? 

We have been informed that the Executive Committee 
of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies has just 
received a Note which our Provisional Government forwarded 
to all its representatives abroad. 

This Note, apparently, is that very "statement" which 
N. S. Chkheidze had expected to be issued within three 
days and which was to contain definite pronouncements 
against annexations. 

But what do we find? 

The Note contains a forthright declaration by the Provi- 
sional Government to the effect that Russia will fight to 
the end, that Russia remains true to her obligations to the 
Allies. 

This Note has had the effect of a bombshell. 

Among the majority of the Executive Committee, Chkheid- 
ze, Tsereteli, and others, there is complete bewilderment. 
The bankruptcy of the entire policy of "agreements" is ob- 
vious — and it has come much sooner than we expected. 

Talk in the Contact Commission will not end the impe- 
rialist war. 



Pravda No. 36, 
May 3 (April 20), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



184 



RESOLUTION OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE 
OF THE R.S.D.L.P. (BOLSHEVIKS) 
OF APRIL 20 (MAY 3), 1917 
ON THE CRISIS CAUSED 
BY THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT'S NOTE 
OF APRIL 18 (MAY 1), 1917 

The Provisional Government's Note has fully demonstrat- 
ed the correctness of the position which our Party adopted 
in the resolution of the Petrograd City Conference, namely, 
(1) that the Provisional Government is an out-and-out 
imperialist government bound hand and foot by Anglo- 
French and Russian capital; (2) that all the promises it has 
made or may make (as to "ascertaining the will of the people 
for peace", etc.) are nothing but deceit; (3) that the Provi- 
sional Government, irrespective of its composition, cannot 
renounce annexations, because in this war, and especially 
at this moment, the capitalist class is tied by banking 
capital; (4) that the policy of the petty bourgeoisie pursued 
by the Narodniks, Mensheviks and most of the leaders of 
the present Soviet of Workers' Deputies, a policy of encour- 
aging false hopes as to the possibility of "improving" the 
capitalists (i.e., the Provisional Government) by "correc- 
tive measures", has once again been exposed by this Note. 
In view of this, the Central Committee finds: 
1) that any change in the composition of the present 
government (the resignation of Milyukov, the recall of Keren- 
sky, etc.) would only be imitating the worst methods of 
bourgeois parliamentary republicanism, which substitutes 
for the struggle of classes the rivalry of cliques and the 
reshuffling of individuals; 



RESOLUTION OF APRIL 20, 1917 



185 



2) that the only means of salvation for the mass of the petty- 
bourgeois population, which vacillates between the capi- 
talists and the working class, is to unreservedly join the 
revolutionary proletariat, which is the only class capable 
of really breaking the fetters of finance capital and the policy 
of annexation. Only by taking — with the support of the ma- 
jority of the people — the whole power of state into 
its own hands, will the revolutionary proletariat, together 
with the revolutionary soldiers, create, in the shape of the 
Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, a government 
which will be trusted by the workers of all countries and 
which will alone be capable of quickly putting an end to the 
war by means of a truly democratic peace. 



Pravda No. 37, 
May 4 (April 21), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



186 



APPEAL TO THE SOLDIERS 
OF ALL THE BELLIGERENT COUNTRIES 

Brothers, soldiers! 

We are all worn out by this frightful war, which has cost 
millions of lives, crippled millions of people and caused 
untold misery, ruin, and starvation. 

And more and more people are beginning to ask themselves: 
What started this war, what is it being waged for? 

Every day it is becoming clearer to us, the workers and 
peasants, who bear the brunt of the war, that it was started 
and is being waged by the capitalists of all countries for the 
sake of the capitalists' interests, for the sake of world suprem- 
acy, for the sake of markets for the manufacturers, factory 
owners and bankers, for the sake of plundering the weak 
nationalities. They are carving up colonies and seizing terri- 
tories in the Balkans and in Turkey — and for this the Euro- 
pean peoples must be ruined, for this we must die, for this 
we must witness the ruin, starvation and death of our 
families. 

The capitalist class in all countries is deriving colossal, 
staggering, scandalously high profits from contracts and war 
supplies, from concessions in annexed countries, and from 
the rising price of goods. The capitalist class has imposed 
contribution on all the nations for decades ahead in the shape 
of high interest on the billions lent in war loans. And we, the 
workers and peasants, must die, suffer ruin, and starve, 
must patiently bear all this and strengthen our oppressors, 
the capitalists, by having the workers of the different coun- 
tries exterminate each other and feel hatred for each 
other. 



TO SOLDIERS OF ALL BELLIGERENT COUNTRIES 



187 



Are we going to continue submissively to bear our yoke, 
to put up with the war between the capitalist classes? Are 
we going to let this war drag on by taking the side of our 
own national governments, our own national bourgeoisies, 
our own national capitalists, and thereby destroying the 
international unity of the workers of all countries, of the 
whole world? 

No, brother soldiers, it is time we opened our eyes, it 
is time we took our fate into our own hands. In all countries 
popular wrath against the capitalist class, which has drawn 
the people into the war, is growing, spreading, and gaining 
strength. Not only in Germany, but even in Britain, which 
before the war had the reputation of being one of the freest 
countries, hundreds and hundreds of true friends and repre- 
sentatives of the working class are languishing in prison 
for having spoken the honest truth against the war and against 
the capitalists. The revolution in Russia is only the first 
step of the first revolution; it should be followed and will be 
followed by others. 

The new government in Russia — which has overthrown 
Nicholas II, who was as bad a crowned brigand as Wilhelm 
II — is a government of the capitalists. It is waging just as 
predatory and imperialist a war as the capitalists of Germany, 
Britain, and other countries. It has endorsed the predatory 
secret treaties concluded by Nicholas II with the capitalists 
of Britain, France, and other countries; it is not publishing 
these treaties for the world to know, just as the German 
Government is not publishing its secret and equally pred- 
atory treaties with Austria, Bulgaria, and so on. 

On April 20 the Russian Provisional Government pub- 
lished a Note re-endorsing the old predatory treaties concluded 
by the tsar and declaring its readiness to fight the war to 
a victorious finish, thereby arousing the indignation even 
of those who have hitherto trusted and supported it. 

But, in addition to the capitalist government, the Russian 
revolution has given rise to spontaneous revolutionary 
organisations representing the vast majority of the workers 
and peasants, namely, the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies in Petrograd and in the majority of Russia's 
cities. Most of the soldiers and some of the workers in Russia — 
like very many workers and soldiers in Germany — still 



188 



V. I. LENIN 



preserve an unreasoning trust in the government of the 
capitalists and in their empty and lying talk of a peace without 
annexations, a war of defence, and so on. 

But, unlike the capitalists, the workers and poor peasants 
have no interest in annexations or in protecting the profits 
of the capitalists. And, therefore, every day, every step 
taken by the capitalist government, both in Russia and in 
Germany, will expose the deceit of the capitalists, will 
expose the fact that as long as capitalist rule lasts there can 
be no really democratic, non-coercive peace based on a real 
renunciation of all annexations, i.e., on the liberation of all 
colonies without exception, of all oppressed, forcibly annexed 
or underprivileged nationalities without exception, and the 
war will in all likelihood become still more acute and pro- 
tracted. 

Only if state power in both the, at present, hostile countries, 
for example, in both Russia and Germany, passes wholly 
and exclusively into the hands of the revolutionary Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, which are really capable 
of rending the whole mesh of capitalist relations and inter- 
ests, will the workers of both the belligerent countries ac- 
quire confidence in each other and be able to put a speedy 
end to the war on the basis of a really democratic peace 
that will really liberate all the nations and nationalities 
of the world. 

Brothers, soldiers! 

Let us do everything we can to hasten this, to achieve 
this aim. Let us not fear sacrifices — any sacrifice for the 
workers' revolution will be less painful than the sacrifices 
of war. Every victorious step of the revolution will save 
hundreds of thousands and millions of people from death, 
ruin, and starvation. 

Peace to the hovels, war on the palaces! Peace to the 
workers of all countries! Long live the fraternal unity of the 
revolutionary workers of all countries! Long live socialism! 

Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. 
Petrograd Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. 
Editorial Board of Pravda 

Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



Pravda No. 37, 
May 4 (April 21), 1917 



189 



THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT'S NOTE 

The cards are on the table. We have every reason to be 
grateful to Guchkov and Milyukov for their Note, printed 
today in all the newspapers. 

The majority of the Executive Committee of the Soviet 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, the Narodniks, Menshe- 
viks, all those who until now have appealed for confi- 
dence in the Provisional Government, have received condign 
punishment. They hoped, expected, and believed that the 
Provisional Government, under the beneficent influence of 
"contact" with Chkheidze, Skobelev, and Steklov, would 
for ever repudiate annexations. Things have turned out 
somewhat differently.... 

In its Note of April 18, the Provisional Government speaks 
of "the desire of the whole nation [!] to fight the world war 
out to a decisive victory". 

"Needless to say," the Note adds, "the Provisional Govern- 
ment ... will fully stand by its obligations towards our 
Allies." 

Short and clear. War to a decisive victory. The alliance 
with the British and French bankers is sacred.... 

Who concluded this alliance with "our" Allies, i.e., with 
the British and French multimillionaires? The tsar, Ras- 
putin, the tsar's gang, of course. But to Milyukov and Co. 
this treaty is sacred. 

Why? 

Some say: because Milyukov is insincere, he is a crafty 
person and so on. 

But that is not the point. The point is that Guchkov, 
Milyukov, Tereshchenko, and Konovalov are spokesmen of 
the capitalists . And the seizure of foreign lands is necessary 



190 



V. I. LENIN 



to the capitalists. They will receive new markets, new places 
to export capital to, new opportunities to arrange profitable 
jobs for tens of thousands of their sons, etc. The point is 
that at the present moment the interests of the Russian 
capitalists are identical with those of the British and French 
capitalists. That, and that alone, is the reason why the 
tsar's treaties with the British and French capitalists are 
precious to the Provisional Government of the Russian 
capitalists. 

The new Note of the Provisional Government will pour 
oil on the flames. It can only arouse a bellicose spirit in 
Germany. It will help Wilhelm the Brigand to go on deceiv- 
ing "his own" workers and soldiers and drag them into a war 
"to a finish". 

The new Note of the Provisional Government puts the 
issue squarely: what next? 

From the very first moment of our revolution, the British 
and French capitalists have been assuring us that the Russian 
revolution was made solely and exclusively in order to fight 
the war out "to a finish". The capitalists want to plunder 
Turkey, Persia, and China. If this should entail the slaughter 
of another ten million or so Russian muzhiks — what of 
it? What we need is a "decisive victory".... And now the Pro- 
visional Government, with utter frankness, has adopted the 
same course. 

"Fight — because we want to plunder." 

"Die in your tens of thousands every day — because 'we' 
have not yet fought it out and have not yet got our share 
of the spoils!" 

No class-conscious worker, no class-conscious soldier 
will support the policy of "confidence" in the Provisional 
Government any longer. The policy of confidence is bank- 
rupt. 

Our Social-Democratic City Conference stated in its reso- 
lution that the correctness of our view would be corroborat- 
ed now every day*. But not even we had expected events to 
move so fast. 

The present Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
is faced with the alternative: either to swallow the pill offered 



See pp. 154-55 of this volume. — Ed. 



THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT'S NOTE 



191 



by Guchkov and Milyukov, which would mean renouncing 
an independent political role once and for all, for tomorrow 
Milyukov would put his "feet on the table" and reduce the 
Soviet to a mere cipher; or to reject Milyukov's Note, which 
would mean breaking with the old policy of confidence and 
adopting the course proposed by Pravda. 

Naturally, a middle-of-the-road course might be found. 
But would it be for long? 

Workers and soldiers, you must now loudly declare that 
there must be only one power in the country — the Soviets of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The Provisional Govern- 
ment, the government of a handful of capitalists, must 
make way for these Soviets. 



Written April 20 (May 3), 1917 

Published May 4 (April 21), 1917 
in Pravda No. 37 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



192 



A BASIC QUESTION 

A LINE OF ARGUMENT USED BY SOCIALISTS WHO HAVE 
GONE OVER TO THE BOURGEOISIE 

Mr. Plekhanov gives an excellent illustration of this. In 
his First of May letter to the Association of Socialist Stu- 
dents published in today's Rech, Dyelo Naroda, and Yedin- 
stvo, he writes: 

"It [the International Socialist Congress of 1889] understood that 
the social, or more exactly — the socialist, revolution presupposed pro- 
longed educational and organisational work within the working class. 
This has now been forgotten here by people who call on the Russian 
working masses to seize political power, an act which would make 
sense only if the objective conditions necessary for a social revolution 
prevailed. These conditions do not exist yet...." 

And so on in the same strain, ending with an appeal for 
"whole-hearted support" of the Provisional Government. 

This argument of Mr. Plekhanov is the typical argument 
of a small group of "have-beens", who call themselves Social- 
Democrats. And because it is typical it is worth dealing 
with at length. 

First of all, is it reasonable and honest to quote the First 
Congress of the Second International, and not the last one? 

The First Congress of the Second International (1889- 
1914) took place in 1889, the last, in Basle, in 1912. The 
Basle Manifesto, which was adopted unanimously, speaks 
precisely, definitely, directly, and clearly (so that not even 
the Plekhanovs can twist the sense of it) of a proletarian 
revolution, and one, moreover, which is considered in 
connection with the very war which subsequently broke out 
(in 1914). 



A BASIC QUESTION 



193 



It is not difficult to understand why those socialists who 
have gone over to the bourgeoisie are prone to "forget" the 
Basle Manifesto as a whole, or this most important part 
of it. 

Secondly, the seizure of political power by "the Russian 
working masses", writes our author, "would make sense only 
if the objective conditions necessary for a social revolution 
prevailed". 

This is a muddle, not a thought. 

Assuming even that the word "social" here is a misprint 
for "socialist", this is not the only muddle. What classes 
do the Russian working masses consist of? Everybody knows 
that they consist of workers and peasants. Which of these 
classes is in the majority? The peasants. Who are these peas- 
ants as far as their class position is concerned? Petty proprie- 
tors. The question arises: if the petty proprietors consti- 
tute the majority of the population and if the objective 
conditions for socialism are lacking, then how can the 
majority of the population declare in favour of socialism? 
Who can say anything or who says anything about establish- 
ing socialism against the will of the majority? 

Mr. Plekhanov has got mixed up in the most ludicrous 
fashion at the very outset. 

To find himself in a ridiculous position is not the worst 
punishment a man can suffer, who, following the example 
of the capitalist press, creates an "enemy" of his own imagi- 
nation instead of quoting the exact words of this or that 
political opponent. 

Further. In whose hands should "political power" be, even 
from the point of view of a vulgar bourgeois democrat from 
Rechl In the hands of the majority of the population. Do the 
"Russian working masses", so inaptly referred to by the mud- 
dled social-chauvinist, constitute the majority of the popu- 
lation in Russia? Undoubtedly they do — the overwhelming 
majority! 

How then, without betraying democracy — even democracy 
as understood by Milyukov — can one be opposed to the 
"seizure of political power" by the "Russian working masses"? 

The deeper you go into the wood, the thicker the trees. 
Each step in our analysis opens up new abysses of confusion 
in Mr. Plekhanov's ideas. 



194 



V. I. LENIN 



The social-chauvinist is against political power passing 
to the majority of the population in Russia! 

Mr. Plekhanov doesn't know what he is talking about. 
He has also confused — though Marx as far back as 1875 
made a point of warning against such confusion — the "work- 
ing masses" with the mass of proletarians and semi-prole- 
tarians. 75 We shall explain the difference to the ex-Marxist, 
Mr. Plekhanov. 

Can the majority of the peasants in Russia demand and 
carry out the nationalisation of the land? Certainly it can. 
Would this be a socialist revolution? It would not. It would 
still be a bourgeois revolution, for the nationalisation of the 
land is a measure that is not incompatible with the existence 
of capitalism. It is, however, a blow to private ownership of 
the most important means of production. Such a blow would 
strengthen the proletarians and semi-proletarians far more 
than was the case during the revolutions of the seventeenth, 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 

Further. Can the majority of the peasants in Russia 
declare for the merging of all the banks into one, for having 
a branch of a single nation-wide state bank in each village? 

It can, because the convenience and advantage for the 
people of such a measure are unquestionable. Even the 
"defencists" could be for such a measure, as it would heighten 
Russia's capacity for "defence" enormously. 

Is it economically possible to immediately effect such 
a merger of all the banks? Without a doubt, it is quite pos- 
sible. 

Would this be a socialist measure? No, this would not 
yet be socialism. 

Further. Can the majority of the peasants in Russia 
declare in favour of the Sugar Manufacturers' Syndicate 
passing into the hands of the government, to be controlled 
by the workers and peasants, and the price of sugar being 
lowered ? 

It certainly can, for that would benefit the majority of the 
people. 

Is that possible economically? It is quite possible, since 
the Sugar Syndicate has not only developed economically 
into a single industrial organism on a national scale, but 
had already been subject to "state" control under tsarism 



A BASIC QUESTION 



195 



(i.e., control by government officials serving the capital- 
ists). 

Would the taking over of the syndicate by the democratic- 
bourgeois, peasant, state be a socialist measure? 

No, that would not yet be socialism. Mr. Plekhanov could 
have easily convinced himself of that if he had recalled the 
commonly known axioms of Marxism. 

The question is: Would such measures as the merging of the 
banks and turning over the Sugar Manufacturers' Syndicate 
to a democratic peasant government enhance or diminish 
the role, importance, and influence of the proletarians 
and semi-proletarians among the general mass of the popu- 
lation? 

They would undoubtedly enhance them, for those measures 
do not grow out of a system of petty production; they 
were made possible by those "objective conditions" which 
were still lacking in 1889, but which already exist now. 

Such measures would inevitably enhance the role, impor- 
tance, and influence upon the population of the workers, 
especially the city workers, who are the vanguard of the 
proletarians and semi-proletarians of town and country. 

After these measures will have been put into effect, further 
progress towards socialism in Russia would become fully 
possible, and given the aid of the more advanced and expe- 
rienced workers of Western Europe, who have broken with 
their West-European Plekhanovs, Russia's real transition 
to socialism would be inevitable, and the success of such a 
transition would be assured. 

This is the line of argument which every Marxist and 
socialist who has not gone over to the side of "his own" 
national bourgeoisie should use. 

Written April 20 (May 3), 1917 

Published May 4 (April 21), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 37 to the newspaper text 



196 



ICONS VERSUS CANNONS, 
PHRASES VERSUS CAPITAL 

The Note of the Provisional Government on war to a vic- 
torious finish has aroused indignation even among those 
who nourished illusory hopes for a possible renunciation 
of annexations on the part of the government of capitalists. 
The newspapers that have been acting as mouthpieces of 
this petty-bourgeois policy of illusory hopes are today either 
mumbling in dismay, like Rabochaya Gazeta, or are trying 
to turn this indignation against individuals. 

Novaya Zhizn 16 writes: "There is no place in the govern- 
ment of democratic Russia for a champion of the interests 
of international capital! We are sure the Soviet of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies will act promptly in taking the 
most energetic measures towards rendering Mr. Milyukov 
harmless." And Dyelo Naroda expresses the same piece of 
philistine wisdom in the following words. Milyukov's Note, 
it says, "tries to reduce to nought a statement of the greatest 
international importance approved by the entire cabinet". 

Icons versus cannons. Phrases versus capital. The govern- 
ment's statement renouncing annexations was a piece of 
utterly worthless diplomatic verbiage, which might deceive 
an ignorant muzhik, but could not "confuse" the leaders of 
the petty-bourgeois Social-Democratic and Socialist-Revolu- 
tionary parties, the writers of Novaya Zhizn and Dyelo Naroda, 
unless they were willing to be deceived. What empty phrases 
are these about there being "no place in the government of 
democratic Russia for a champion of the interests of inter- 
national capital!" Educated people ought to be ashamed of 
themselves, writing such piffle. 



ICONS VERSUS CANNONS 



197 



The whole Provisional Government is a government of 
the capitalist class. It is a matter of class, not of persons. 
To attack Milyukov personally, to demand, directly or 
indirectly, his dismissal, is a silly comedy, for no change 
of personalities can change anything so long as the classes 
in power are unchanged. 

To draw a line between the "democracy" of Russia, Britain, 
France, etc., and the championing of capital is to sink to 
the level of the economic and political wisdom of a Gapon. 77 

It is pardonable for ignorant muzhiks to demand of the 
capitalist a "promise" that he "live righteously" and not 
capitalistically, that he should not "champion the interests 
of capital". But for the leaders of the Petrograd Soviet, 
for the writers of Novaya Zhizn and Dyelo Naroda to adopt 
such methods means to nourish the illusory hopes which the 
people place in the capitalists, hopes that are most harmful 
and ruinous to the cause of freedom, to the cause of the 
revolution. 



Pravda No. 37, 
May 4 (April 21), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



198 



THE LOGIC OF CITIZEN V. CHERNOV 

Citizen V. Chernov writes in Dyelo Naroda of April 16: 

"He [Lenin] did not even think that, even from his own point of 
view, Britain's consent to his journey would have been better in that 
it would have been due to the pressure of the Russian revolution, 
whereas Germany's consent may appear more suspicious as to its 
motives." 

Conclusion: Lenin is something of a maniac. 

Very well. But what about the thirty arrivals who belong 
to different parties, including the Bund? Are they all mani- 
acs? Did none of them "even think"? 

Further. How about the telegram from Martov, Natanson 
(the leader of the S.R. Party, mark you), Axelrod, and 
others, saying: "We find it absolutely impossible to return to 
Russia via England"? (See Rabochaya Gazeta for April 15.) 

Does this mean that both Martov and Natanson are mani- 
acs, that they too "did not even think"? 

But these witnesses, who do not belong to our Party — 
Natanson is a witness belonging to V. Chernov's party — 
confirm the fact that it was absolutely impossible to make 
the journey any other way! 

What is the conclusion? It is this — either V. Chernov is a 
queer fellow who uses phrases to avoid the facts, or he has 
allowed himself to be so frightened by philistine-chauvinist 
gossip and slander that he has lost his head. 



Pravda No. 37, 
May 4 (April 21), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



199 



MR. PLEKHANOV'S FUTILE ATTEMPTS 
TO EXTRICATE HIMSELF 

In No. 15 of Yedinstvo, Mr. Plekhanov, with an abundance 
of abuse unusual even for that abusive publication, attacks 
Pravda in an attempt to suppress two incontestably estab- 
lished facts. 

You won't succeed in hushing them up, gentlemen! 

Fact number one. Mr. Plekhanov did not reprint our 
report, published in Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet No. 32, 
for April 5, 1917, or the resolution of the Executive Commit- 
tee. 

This is not only an expression of anarchist disrespect for 
the elected representatives of the majority of the soldiers? 
but the dishonest method of a riot-monger. 

Fact number two. Mr. Plekhanov's hounding tactics has 
called forth a protest not from us, but from Dyelo Naroda, to 
which even such a colleague of Guchkov and Milyukov as 
Kerensky contributes. Dyelo Naroda for April 13, 1917, 
wrote of Mr. Plekhanov's Yedinstvo in black and white: 

"We are accustomed to see such words and such a method of 
struggle in the columns of Russkaya Volya. But to see them em- 
ployed in articles written by socialists is, frankly speaking, painful 
and depressing." 

This is the testimony of defencist witnesses, who politi- 
cally are a thousand times closer to Mr. Plekhanov than 
to us. 

What sort of readers does Mr. Plekhanov count on when 
he dismisses the testimony of a witness by saying that Dyelo 
Naroda has made an "inept remark"? 

The witness has exposed Mr. Plekhanov's riot-mongering 
methods. 



200 



V. I. LENIN 



There was a time when Mr. Plekhanov was a socialist, 
Now he has sunk to the level of Russkaya Volya. 

No amount of abuse can do away with the fact that even 
Dyelo Naroda has exposed Mr. Plekhanov. 

In an editorial reprinted in our issue for April 18 Izvestia 
of the Petrograd Soviet (No. 43, April 17) called this hounding 
campaign "dishonest and disgusting". 

This witness states bluntly that this dishonest and dis- 
gusting hounding campaign on the part of the dark forces 
and their newspapers was and is a fact. Mr. Plekhanov, 
fallen to the level of Russkaya Volya, stands hopelessly 
condemned. 



Pravda No. 37, 
May 4 (April 21), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



201 



RESOLUTION OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE 
OF THE R.S.D.L.P. (BOLSHEVIKS) 
ADOPTED APRIL 21 (MAY 4), 1917 

Having considered the situation which has arisen in 
Petrograd after the imperialist, annexationist, and preda- 
tory Note of the Provisional Government of April 18, 1917, 
and after a number of meetings and demonstrations of the 
people held in the streets of Petrograd on April 20, the Cen- 
tral Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. resolves: 

1. Party propagandists and speakers must refute the 
despicable lies of the capitalist papers and of the papers 
supporting the capitalists to the effect that we are holding 
out the threat of civil war. This is a despicable lie, for only 
at the present moment, as long as the capitalists and their 
government cannot and dare not use force against the 
masses, as long as the mass of soldiers and workers are freely 
expressing their will and freely electing and displacing all 
authorities — at such a moment any thought of civil war 
would be naive, senseless, preposterous; at such a moment 
there must be compliance with the will of the majority of the 
population and free criticism of this will by the discontented 
minority; should violence be resorted to, the responsibility 
will fall on the Provisional Government and its supporters. 

2. By their outcries against civil war the government of 
the capitalists and its newspapers are only trying to conceal 
the reluctance of the capitalists, who admittedly constitute 
an insignificant minority of the people, to submit to the 
will of the majority. 

3. In order to learn the will of the majority of the popula- 
tion in Petrograd, where there is now an unusually large 
number of soldiers who are familiar with the sentiment of 



202 



V. I. LENIN 



the peasants and correctly express it, a popular vote must at 
once be arranged in all the districts of Petrograd and its 
suburbs to ascertain what the attitude is towards the govern- 
ment's Note, what support the various parties enjoy, and 
what kind of Provisional Government is desired. 

4. All Party propagandists must advocate these views 
and this proposal at factories, in regiments, in the streets, 
etc., by means of peaceful discussion and peaceful demonstra- 
tions, as well as meetings everywhere; we must endeavour to 
organise regular voting in factories and regiments, taking 
care that order and comradely discipline are strictly ob- 
served. 

5. Party propagandists must again an d again protest 
against the despicable slander spread by the capitalists 
alleging that our Party stands for a separate peace with 
Germany. We consider Wilhelm II as bad a crowned brigand 
meriting execution as Nicholas II, and the German Guchkovs, 
i.e., the German capitalists, just as much annexationists, 
robbers, and imperialists as the Russian, British, and all 
other capitalists. We are against negotiating with the capi- 
talists, we are for negotiating and fraternising with the revo- 
lutionary workers and soldiers of all countries. We are con- 
vinced that the reason why the Guchkov-Milyukov govern- 
ment is trying to aggravate the situation is because it knows 
that the workers' revolution in Germany is beginning, and 
that this revolution will be a blow to the capitalists of all 
countries. 

6. When the Provisional Government spreads rumours 
about utter and unavoidable economic chaos, it is not only 
trying to frighten the people into leaving the power in the 
hands of this Provisional Government, but is also vaguely, 
fumblingly expressing the profound and indubitable truth 
that all the nations of the world have been led into a blind 
alley, that the war waged in the interests of the capitalists 
has driven them to the brink of an abyss, and that there is 
really no way out except through the transfer of power to 
the revolutionary class, i.e., to the revolutionary proletar- 
iat, which is capable of adopting revolutionary measures. 

If there are any stocks of grain, etc., in the country, the 
new government of the workers and soldiers will know how 
to dispose of them too. But if the capitalist war has brought 



RESOLUTION OF THE C.C. R.S.D.L.P.(B.) 



203 



economic ruin to a stage where there is no bread at all, the 
capitalist government will only aggravate the condition of 
the people instead of improving it. 

7. We consider the policy of the present majority of lead- 
ers of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, of 
the Narodnik and Menshevik parties, to be profoundly erro- 
neous, since confidence in the Provisional Government, 
attempts to compromise with it, dickering over amendments, 
etc., would in fact mean only so many more useless scraps 
of paper and useless delays; and besides, this policy threat- 
ens to create a divergence between the will of the Soviet on 
the one hand, and that of the majority of revolutionary sol- 
diers at the front and in Petrograd and of the majority of 
workers, on the other. 

8. We call upon those workers and soldiers who believe 
that the Soviet must change its policy and renounce the 
policy of confidence in and compromise with the capitalist 
government, to hold new elections of delegates to the Soviet 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and to send to that body 
only people who would steadfastly hold to a quite definite 
opinion consonant with the actual will of the majority. 



Pravda No. 38, 
May 5 (April 22), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



204 



HONEST DEFENCISM REVEALS ITSELF 

Events in Petrograd during the last few days, especially 
yesterday, illustrate how right we were in speaking of the 
"honest" defencism of the mass as distinguished from the 
defencism of the leaders and parties. 

The mass of the population is made up of proletarians, 
semi-proletarians, and poor peasants. They are the vast 
majority of the nation. These classes are not at all interested 
in annexations. Imperialist policies, the profits of banking 
capital, incomes from railways in Persia, lucrative jobs 
in Galicia and Armenia, putting restraints on the freedom of 
Finland — all these are things in which these classes are not 
interested. 

But all these things taken together just go to make up 
what is known in science and the press as imperialist, annexa- 
tionist, predatory policy. 

The crux of the matter is that the Guchkovs, Milyukovs, 
and Lvovs — be they even all paragons of virtue, disinter- 
estedness, and love of their fellow-man — are the spokesmen, 
leaders, and chosen representatives of the capitalist class, 
a class which has a vested interest in a predatory, annexation- 
ist policy. This class invested billions "in the war", and is 
making hundreds of millions "out of the war" and annexa- 
tions (i.e., out of the subjugation or forced incorporation 
of alien nationalities). 

To believe that the capitalist class will "mend its ways", 
will cease to be a capitalist class, will give up its profits, 
is a fatuous hope, an idle dream, and in effect a deception of 
the people. Only petty-bourgeois politicians, fluctuating 
between capitalist and proletarian policies, can entertain 
or encourage such fatuous hopes. Herein lies the mistake of 



HONEST DEFENCISM REVEALS ITSELF 



205 



the present leaders of the Narodnik parties and the Men- 
sheviks, Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Chernov, and the others. 

The mass representatives of defencism are not at all 
versed in politics. They have not been able to learn politics 
from books, from participation in the Duma, or from close 
observation of people engaged in politics. 

The mass representatives of defencism still do not know 
that wars are waged by governments, that governments 
represent the interests of certain classes, that the present 
war, on the part of both belligerent groups, is waged by the 
capitalists in the predatory interests of and for the predatory 
aims of the capitalists. 

Unaware as they are of this, the mass representatives of 
defencism argue quite simply: we do not want annexations, 
we demand a democratic peace, we do not want to fight for 
Constantinople, for putting down Persia, for plundering 
Turkey, and so on; we "demand" that the Provisional 
Government give up its policy of annexations. 

The mass representatives of defencism are sincere in 
wishing this, not in a personal but in a class sense, because 
they speak for classes that are not interested in annexations. 
But what these representatives of the masses do not know is 
that the capitalists and their government may throw over 
the policy of annexations in words, may dangle promises and 
mouth fine phrases, but cannot really abandon the idea of 
annexations. 

That is why the mass representatives of defencism were 
so strongly and legitimately shocked by the Provisional 
Government's Note of April 18. 

People familiar with politics could not have been sur- 
prised by this Note, for they knew only too well that when 
the capitalists "renounce annexations" they do not really 
mean it. It is just the usual trick and phrase-mongering of 
diplomats. 

But the "honest" mass representatives of defencism were 
surprised, shocked, indignant. They felt — they did not 
understand it quite clearly, but they felt that they had been 
tricked. 

This is the essence of the crisis and it should be clearly 
distinguished from the opinions, expectations, and suppo- 
sitions of single individuals and parties. 



206 



V. I. LENIN 



To patch up this crisis for a while with a new declaration, 
with a new Note (that is what Mr. Plekhanov's advice in 
Yedinstvo and the aspirations of Milyukov and Co., on the 
one hand, and those of Chkheidze and Tsereteli, on the other, 
amount to) — to paper over the cracks with a new promise is 
of course possible, but this can do nothing but harm. A new 
promise would inevitably mean a new deception of the 
masses; therefore a new outburst of indignation, and such 
an outburst, if lacking intelligent orientation, might easily 
become very harmful. 

The masses should be told the whole truth. The govern- 
ment of the capitalists cannot abandon annexations; it is 
caught in its own meshes, and there is no escape. It feels, it 
realises, it sees that without revolutionary measures (of 
which only a revolutionary class is capable) there is no way 
out, and it is becoming panicky, losing its head; it promises 
one thing, but does another; at one minute it threatens the 
masses with violence (Guchkov and Shingaryov), at the 
next it proposes that the power be taken out of its hands. 

Economic ruin, crisis, the horrors of war, an impasse 
from which there is no way out — this is what the capitalists 
have brought all the nations to. 

Indeed there is no way out — except through the transfer 
of power to the revolutionary class, to the revolutionary 
proletariat, which alone, supported by the majority of the 
population, is capable of aiding the revolution to victory 
in all the belligerent countries and leading humanity to 
lasting peace and liberation from the yoke of capitalism. 



Pravda No. 38, 
May 5 (April 22), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



207 



MAD CAPITALISTS 
OR WEAK-MINDED SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS? 

Rabochaya Gazeta writes today: 

"We have been strongly opposed to the civil warmongering by Len- 
in's followers. But now the signal for civil war no longer comes from 
Lenin's followers, but from the Provisional Government, which has 
published a statement that makes, a mockery of democratic aspirations. 
This is truly a mad stop, and immediate determined action by the So- 
viet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies is needed if we are to avert 
the dire consequences of this madness." 

What can be more absurd and ridiculous, than this fairy- 
tale about "civil warmongering" on our part, when we have 
declared in the clearest, most formal and unequivocal manner 
that all our work should be focused on patiently explaining 
the proletarian policy as opposed to the petty-bourgeois, 
defencist craze with its faith in the capitalists? 

Does Rabochaya Gazeta really fail to understand that these 
outcries about civil war are now raised by the capitalists in 
order to break the will of the majority of the people? 

Is there a grain of Marxism in proclaiming the conduct 
of the capitalists "madness", when, caught in the vise of 
Russian and Anglo-French imperialist capital, they cannot 
act otherwise? 

Mr. Plekhanov, in today's Yedinstvo, is more forthright in 
expressing the policy of the entire petty-bourgeois-defencist 
bloc when he calls upon the Soviet to come "to an agreement" 
with the Provisional Government. An amusing appeal, this. 
It is like serving mustard after dinner. 

Don't we all know that an agreement was concluded long 
ago? That it has been in existence since the beginning of 
the revolution? The whole thing is that the present crisis 



208 



V. I. LENIN 



is due to the fact that the agreement has proved to be a scrap 
of paper, an empty promise! To answer the "accursed ques- 
tions" with which the failure of the existing agreement has 
now squarely confronted the people by calling for an "agree- 
ment" in general, without saying a word about its terms or 
about real guarantees for it, to answer by sighing and crying 
"0 ye Madmen!" — is this not a tragicomedy of the petty- 
bourgeois Louis Blancs? (Louis Blanc was a labour leader 
only in words, in reality he was the tail of the bourgeoisie.) 

"Immediate determined action is needed," Rabochaya 
Gazeta importantly declares. What kind of "action", my 
dear fellow-citizens? You cannot say what, you do not know 
what yourselves. All you do know is to declaim, because, 
like Louis Blanc, you have forgotten about the class struggle, 
you have side-tracked the class struggle under cover of petty- 
bourgeois phraseology and declamation. 

Written April 21 (May 4), 1917 

Published May 5 (April 22), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 38 to the newspaper text 



209 



THE ADVICE OR ORDER OF SHINGARYOV, 
AND THE ADVICE OF A LOCAL SOVIET 

The Petrograd Gazeta-Kopeika 18 in its issue of April 
14 published the following report: 

PRIVATELY-OWNED LANDS TO BE REQUISITIONED 

Kishinev, April 13. In view of the fact that there are great tracts of 
uncultivated land in the uyezd that are not leased on account of the 
high rent, the Akkerman Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
has recommended all village and volost committees to requisition all 
unused privately-owned lands for crop cultivation through the Commis- 
sar in cases where voluntary agreements are impossible. 

If this report is true, it is extremely important. Obvious- 
ly, the Akkerman Soviet is guided by practical considera- 
tions, and is no doubt closely and intimately acquainted with 
local conditions. It considers correctly that the crops must be 
increased at all costs to the fullest possible extent. But how 
can this be done when the landowners have raised the rents 
scandalously? 

By voluntary agreements with the landowners? 

This is what Minister Shingaryov emphatically advises 
from Petrograd; he threatens the peasants, and protests 
vehemently against arbitrary action. It is all very well for 
Shingaryov to argue from Petrograd. It is all very well for 
him to defend the landowners in the name of the government 
of the capitalists. 

But how about the situation of the peasants locally? Does 
not the Akkerman Soviet appraise the situation more 
correctly when it speaks of "voluntary agreements" being 
"impossible"? 



Pravda No. 38, 
May 5 (April 22), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



210 



RESOLUTION OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE 
OF THE R.S.D.L.P. (BOLSHEVIKS) 
ADOPTED IN THE MORNING, 
OF APRIL 22 (MAY 5), 1917 

The political crisis that developed between April 19 and 
21 must be regarded, at least in its initial stage, as having 
passed. 

The petty-bourgeois mass, angered by the capitalists, 
first swung away from them towards the workers; but two 
days later they again followed the Menshevik and Narodnik 
leaders, who stand for "confidence" in and "compromise" 
with the capitalists. 

These leaders have compromised, completely surrendered 
all their positions, contenting themselves with the empty 
and purely verbal reservations of the capitalists. 

The causes of the crisis have not been removed, and the 
recurrence of such crises is unavoidable. 

The nature of the crisis is that the petty-bourgeois mass 
is vacillating between its age-old faith in the capitalists 
and its resentment against them, a tendency to place its 
faith in the revolutionary proletariat. 

The capitalists are dragging out the war and covering up 
the fact by phrase-mongering. Only the revolutionary pro- 
letariat can put an end to, and is working towards putting 
an end to the war by means of a world revolution of the 
workers, a revolution which is obviously mounting in our 
country, ripening in Germany, and drawing closer in a 
number of other countries. 

The slogan "Down with the Provisional Government!" is 
an incorrect one at the present moment because, in the 



RESOLUTION OF THE C.C. R.S.D.L.P.(B.) 



211 



absence of a solid (i.e., a class-conscious and organised) 
majority of the people on the side of the revolutionary prole- 
tariat, such a slogan is either an empty phrase, or, objec- 
tively, amounts to attempts of an adventurist character. 79 

We shall favour the transfer of power to the proletarians 
and semi-proletarians only when the Soviets of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies adopt our policy and are willing to take 
the power into their own hands. 

The organisation of our Party, the consolidation of the 
proletarian forces, clearly proved inadequate at the time of 
the crisis. 

The slogans of the moment are: (1) To explain the prole- 
tarian line and the proletarian way of ending the war; 
(2) To criticise the petty-bourgeois policy of placing trust 
in the government of the capitalists and compromising with 
it; (3) To carry on propaganda and agitation from group to 
group in every regiment, in every factory, and, particularly, 
among the most backward masses, such as domestic servants, 
unskilled labourers, etc., since it was their backing in the 
first place that the bourgeoisie tried to gain during the 
crisis; (4) To organise, organise and once more organise the 
proletariat, in every factory, in every district and in every 
city quarter. 

The resolution of the Petrograd Soviet of April 21 ban- 
ning all street meetings and demonstrations for two days 
must be unconditionally obeyed by every member of our 
Party. The Central Committee already distributed yesterday 
morning, and is today publishing in Pravda, a resolution 
which states that "at such a moment any thought of civil 
war would be senseless and preposterous", that all demon- 
strations must be peaceful ones, and that the responsibility 
for violence will fall on the Provisional Government and its 
supporters.* Our Party therefore considers that the above- 
mentioned resolution of the Soviet of Workers' and Sol- 
diers' Deputies as a whole (and especially the part banning 
armed demonstrations and shooting in the air) is entirely 
correct and must be unconditionally obeyed. 

We call upon all the workers and soldiers to consider 
carefully the results of the crisis of the last two days and 



See p. 201 of this volume.— Ed. 



212 



V. I. LENIN 



to send as delegates to the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies and to the Executive Committee only such com- 
rades as express the will of the majority. In all cases where a 
delegate does not express the opinion of the majority, new 
elections should be held in the factories and barracks. 



Pravda No. 39, 
May 6 (April 23), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



213 



LESSONS OF THE CRISIS 

Petrograd and the whole of Russia have passed through a 
serious political crisis, the first political crisis since the 
revolution. 

On April 18 the Provisional Government issued its unhap- 
pily notorious Note, which confirmed the predatory aims 
of the war clearly enough to arouse the indignation of the 
masses, who had honestly believed in the desire (and ability) 
of the capitalists to "renounce annexations". On April 20-21 
Petrograd was in a turmoil. The streets were crowded; day 
and night knots and groups of people stood about, and 
meetings of various sizes sprang up everywhere; big street 
processions and demonstrations went on without a break. 
Yesterday evening, April 21, the crisis, or, at any rate, the 
first stage of the crisis, apparently came to an end with the 
Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies, and later the Soviet itself, declaring themselves 
satisfied with the "explanations", the amendments to the 
Note and the "elucidations" made by the government (which 
in fact boil down to empty phrases, saying absolutely noth- 
ing, changing nothing and committing the government to 
nothing). They considered the "incident settled". 

Whether the masses consider the "incident settled", the 
future will show. Our task now is to make a careful study 
of the forces, the classes, that revealed themselves in the 
crisis, and to draw the relevant lessons for our proletarian 
party. For it is the great significance of all crises that they 
make manifest what has been hidden; they cast aside all 
that is relative, superficial, and trivial; they sweep away 
the political litter and reveal the real mainsprings of the 
class struggle. 



214 



V. I. LENIN 



Strictly speaking, the capitalist government on April 
18 merely reiterated its previous notes, in which the impe- 
rialist war was invested with diplomatic equivocations. The 
soldiers were angry because they had honestly believed in the 
sincerity and peaceful intentions of the capitalists. The 
demonstrations began as soldiers' demonstrations, under the 
contradictory, misguided and ineffectual slogan: "Down 
with Milyukov" (as though a change of persons or groups could 
change the substance of policy!). 

This means that the broad, unstable, and vacillating mass, 
which is closest to the peasantry and which by its scientific 
class definition is petty-bourgeois, swung away from the 
capitalists towards the revolutionary workers. It was the 
swing or movement of this mass, strong enough to be a 
decisive factor, that caused the crisis. 

It was at this point that other sections began to stir: 
not the middle but the extreme elements, not the interme- 
diary petty bourgeoisie but the bourgeoisie and the prole- 
tariat, started to come out on to the streets and organise. 

The bourgeoisie seized Nevsky Prospekt — or "Milyukov" 
Prospekt as one paper called it — and the adjacent quarters of 
prosperous Petrograd, the Petrograd of the capitalists and 
the government officials. Officers, students, and "the middle 
classes" demonstrated in favour of the Provisional Govern- 
ment. Among the slogans, "Down with Lenin" frequently 
appeared on the banners. 

The proletariat rallied in its own centres, the working- 
class suburbs, around the slogans and appeals of our Party's 
Central Committee. On April 20-21 the Central Committee 
adopted resolutions, which were immediately passed on to 
the proletariat through the Party organisations. The workers 
poured through the poor, less central districts, and then in 
groups got through to Nevsky. By their mass character and 
solidarity, these demonstrations were very different from 
those of the bourgeoisie. Many banners carried the inscrip- 
tion "All Power to the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies". 

On Nevsky there were clashes. The "hostile" demonstra- 
tions tore down each other's banners. The Executive Commit- 
tee received news by telephone from various places that 
there was shooting on both sides, that there were killed and 



LESSONS OF THE CRISIS 



215 



wounded; but the information was extremely contradictory 
and unconfirmed. 

The bourgeoisie shouted about the "spectre of civil war", 
thus expressing its fear that the real masses, the actual 
majority of the nation, might seize power. The petty-bour- 
geois leaders of the Soviet, the Mensheviks and Narodniks — 
who since the revolution in general, and during the crisis 
in particular, have had no definite party policy — allowed 
themselves to be intimidated. In the Executive Committee 
almost half the votes were cast against the Provisional Gov- 
ernment on the eve of the crisis, but now thirty-four votes 
(with nineteen against) are cast in favour of returning to a 
policy of confidence in and agreement with the capitalists. 

And the "incident" was considered "settled". 

What is the essence of the class struggle? The capitalists 
are for dragging out the war under cover of empty phrases 
and false promises. They are caught in the meshes of Russian, 
Anglo-French and American banking capital. The prole- 
tariat, as represented by its class-conscious vanguard, stands 
for the transfer of power to the revolutionary class, the 
working class and the semi-proletarians, for the develop- 
ment of a world workers' revolution, a revolution which is 
clearly developing also in Germany, and for terminating the 
war by means of such a revolution. 

The vast mass of people, chiefly the petty bourgeoisie, 
who still believe the Menshevik and Narodnik leaders and 
who have been absolutely intimidated by the bourgeoisie 
and are carrying out its policy, although with reservations, 
are swinging now to the right, now to the left. 

The war is terrible; it has hit the vast mass of the people 
hardest of all; it is these people who are becoming aware, 
albeit still very vaguely, that the war is criminal, that it 
is being carried on through the rivalry and scramble of the 
capitalists, for the division of their spoils. The world situa- 
tion is growing more and more involved. The only way out 
is a world workers' revolution, a revolution which is now 
more advanced in Russia than in any other country, but 
which is clearly mounting (strikes, fraternisation) in Ger- 
many too. And the people are wavering: wavering between 
confidence in their old masters, the capitalists, and bitter- 
ness towards them; between confidence in the new class, the 



216 



V. I. LENIN 



only consistently revolutionary class, which opens up the 
prospect of a bright future for all the working people — the 
proletariat — and a vague awareness of its role in world 
history. 

This is not the first time the petty bourgeoisie and semi- 
proletarians have wavered and it will not be the lastl 

The lesson is clear, comrade workers! There is no time to be 
lost. The first crisis will be followed by others. You must 
devote all your efforts to enlightening the backward, to 
making extensive, comradely and direct contact (not only 
by meetings) with every regiment and with every group 
of working people who have not had their eyes opened yet! 
All your efforts must be devoted to consolidating your own 
ranks, to organising the workers from the bottom upwards, 
including every district, every factory, every quarter of 
the capital and its suburbs! Do not be misled by those of 
the petty bourgeoisie who "compromise" with the capital- 
ists, by the defencists and by the "supporters", nor by indi- 
viduals who are inclined to be in a hurry and to shout "Down 
with the Provisional Government!" before the majority 
of the people are solidly united. The crisis cannot be over- 
come by violence practised by individuals against individ- 
uals, by the local action of small groups of armed people, 
by Blanquist attempts to "seize power", to "arrest" the Pro- 
visional Government, etc. 

Today's task is to explain more precisely, more clearly, 
more widely the proletariat's policy, its way of terminating 
the war. Rally more resolutely, more widely, wherever you 
can, to the ranks and columns of the proletariat! Rally 
round your Soviets; and within them endeavour to rally 
behind you a majority by comradely persuasion and by re- 
election of individual members! 

Written April 22 (May 5), 1917 

Published May 6 (April 23), Published according 

1917 in Pravda No. 39 to the newspaper text 



217 



HOW A SIMPLE QUESTION CAN BE CONFUSED 

Commenting on the resolution of the Central Committee 
of April 20 concerning the necessity of transferring power to 
the revolutionary proletariat "with the support of the 
majority of the people", today's Dyen writes: 

"Very simple, then what's the hitch? Instead of passing resolu- 
tions, come and take the power." 

We have here a typical example of the methods used by 
the bourgeois press. People pretend not to understand the 
simplest thing, and ensure themselves — on paper — an 
easy victory. Anybody who says "take the power" should 
not have to think long to realise that an attempt to do so 
without as yet having the backing of the majority of the 
people would be adventurism or Blanquism (Pravda has 
made a special point of warning against this in the clearest, 
most unmistakable and unequivocal terms). 

There is a degree of freedom now in Russia that enables 
the will of the majority to be gauged by the make-up of the 
Soviets. Therefore, to make a serious, not a Blanquist, bid 
for power, the proletarian party must fight for influence 
within the Soviets. 

All this has been gone over and hammered out by Pravda 
again and again, and only stupidity or malice can fail to 
grasp it. Let the reader judge for himself to which of these 
two unenviable categories Rabochaya Gazeta belongs when it 
describes the "recommendation" (made to the Soviet) "to take 
power into its own hands" as "irresponsible provocation", 
as "demagogy, devoid of all sense of political responsibility, 



218 



V. I. LENIN 



light-heartedly urging democrats towards civil strife 
and war, and inciting the workers and soldiers not only 
against the government but against the Soviet itself" and 
so on. 

Can one imagine a worse muddle than this, when the 
blame on the question of demagogy is laid at the wrong 
door? 

Prime Minister Lvov is reported by the evening paper 
Birzheviye Vedomosti 80 for April 21 as having said literally 
the following: 

"Up till now the Provisional Government has invariably met with 
the support of the Soviet's leading organ. During the last fortnight 
these relations have changed. The Provisional Government is suspect. 
Under the circumstances it is in no position to administer the state, 
as it is difficult to do anything in an atmosphere of distrust and discon- 
tent. Under such circumstances it would be best for the Provisional 
Government to resign. It is fully alive to its responsibility towards 
the country, in whose interests it is prepared to resign immediately if 
need be." 

Is this not clear? Is it possible not to understand why, 
after such a speech, our Central Committee proposed that 
a public opinion poll be held? 

What have "civil war", "provocation", "demagogy" and 
similar frightening words to do with it, when the Prime Min- 
ister himself declares the government's readiness "to resign" 
and recognises the Soviet as the "leading organ"? 

One or the other: either Rabochaya Gazeta believes that 
in making such statements Lvov is misleading the people, in 
which case it should not urge confidence in and support of 
the government, but no confidence and no support; or Rabo- 
chaya Gazeta believes that Lvov is really "prepared to re- 
sign", in which case, why all this outcry about civil 
war? 

If Rabochaya Gazeta understands the situation correctly, 
understands that the capitalists are raising a hullabaloo 
about civil war in order to cover up their desire to flout the 
will of the majority by means of force, then why this outcry 
on the part of the newspaper? 

Lvov is entitled to ask the Soviet to approve and accept 
his policy. Our Party is entitled to ask the Soviet to approve 
and accept our, proletarian, policy. To speak of "provocation" 



HOW A SIMPLE QUESTION CAN BE CONFUSED 



219 



and so on is to reveal an utter lack of understanding of what 
it is all about or to sink to base demagogy. We are entitled to 
fight for influence and for a majority in the Soviet and 
the Soviets, and we are going to fight for them. We repeat: 
"We shall favour the transfer of power to the proletarians 
and semi-proletarians only when the Soviets of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies adopt our policy and are willing to take the 
power into their own hands."* 

Written April 22 (May 5), 1917 

Published May 6 (April 23), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 39 to the newspaper text 



See p. 211 of this volume.— Ed. 



220 



"DISGRACE" AS THE CAPITALISTS 
AND THE PROLETARIANS UNDERSTAND IT 

Today's Yedinstvo prints on its front page in bold type a 
proclamation signed by Plekhanov, Deutsch, and Zasulich. 
We read: 

"Every nation has a right freely to determine its own destiny. Wil- 
helm of Germany and Karl of Austria will never agree to this. In 
waging war against them, we are defending our own freedom, as well as 
the freedom of others. Russia cannot betray her Allies. That would 
bring disgrace upon her." 

That is how all capitalists argue. To them non-observ- 
ance of treaties between capitalists is a disgrace, just as to 
monarchs non-observance of treaties between monarchs is 
a disgrace. 

What about the workers? Do they regard non-observance 
of treaties concluded by monarchs and capitalists a dis- 
grace? 

Of course not! Class-conscious workers are for scrapping all 
such treaties, they are for recognising only such agreements 
between the workers and soldiers of all countries as would 
benefit the people, i.e., not the capitalists, but the workers 
and poor peasants. 

The workers of the world have a treaty of their own, 
namely, the Basle Manifesto of 1912 (signed, among others, 
by Plekhanov and betrayed by him). This workers' "treaty" 
calls it a "crime" for workers of different countries to shoot 
at each other for the sake of the capitalists' profits. 

The writers in Yedinstvo argue like capitalists (so do Rech 
and others), and not like workers. 

It is quite true that neither the German monarch nor 
the Austrian will agree to freedom for every nation, as 



"DISGRACE" AS CAPITALISTS AND PROLETARIANS UNDERSTAND IT 221 



both these monarchs are crowned brigands, and so was 
Nicholas II. Nor, for one thing, are the English, Italian, 
and other monarchs (the "Allies" of Nicholas II) any better. 
To forget this is to become a monarchist or a defender of 
the monarchists. 

Secondly, the wrccrowned brigands, i.e., the capitalists, 
have shown themselves in the present war to be no better 
than the monarchs. Has not American "democracy", i.e., 
the democratic capitalists, robbed the Philippines, and does 
it not rob Mexico? 

The German Guchkovs and Milyukovs, if they were to take 
the place of Wilhelm II, would be brigands, too, no better 
than the British and Russian capitalists. 

Third, will the Russian capitalists "agree" to "freedom" 
for nations which they themselves oppress: Armenia, Khiva, 
Ukraine, Finland? 

By evading this question the Yedinstvo writers are, in 
effect, turning into defenders of "our own" capitalists in 
their predatory war with other capitalists. 

The internationalist workers of the world stand for the 
overthrow of all capitalist governments, for the rejection of 
all agreements and understandings with any capitalists, for 
universal peace concluded by the revolutionary workers 
of all countries, a peace capable of giving real freedom to 
"every" nation. 

Written April 22 (May 5), 1917 

Published May 6 (April 23), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 39 to the newspaper text 



222 



INTERVIEW GIVEN TO E. TORNIAINEN 
APRIL 23 (MAY 6), 1917 81 

We believe the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Sol- 
diers' Deputies at the present moment represents the majority 
of the workers and soldiers. On our part, we (Bolsheviks) 
are working for influence and a majority in the Petrograd 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and in all the 
local Soviets. We advise the workers and soldiers to re-elect 
members of the Soviets who do not fully represent the will 
of the majority. 

So far the majority of the Soviet follows the Narodnik 
and Menshevik leaders. 

We have no doubt that the Soviet will be able to retain 
power so long as it is supported by a considerable and strong 
majority of workers and soldiers. The more so as that power, 
instead of dragging on the war, would bring it to a speedy 
end on terms most favourable to the masses. We also believe 
that the Soviet, being a body elected by the workers and 
soldiers, can definitely win over the overwhelming majority 
of workers and soldiers. 

Whether or not the capitalist government will refuse to con- 
voke the Constituent Assembly will depend upon the devel- 
opment and strength of the counter-revolution. The elements 
of such a counter-revolution without doubt already exist. 

Ending the war by a truly democratic peace depends 
upon the course which the revolution of the world proletar- 
iat will take. This revolution has gained good ground now 
in Russia, and is undoubtedly gaining ground in Germany 
(mass strikes, fraternisation). 



Tyomies No. 122, May 8, 1917 

First published in Russian 
in 1926 in N. Lenin (V. Ulyanov), Works, 
Vol. XX, Part 2 



Published according 
to the text in Tyomies 
Translated from the Finnish 



223 



FOOLISH GLOATING 

Rabochaya Gazeta gloats and crows over the recent reso- 
lution of the Central Committee which has revealed (in 
connection, be it noted, with the now published declaration 
of the representatives of the Bolshevik group in the Soviet) 
certain disagreements within our Party. 

The Mensheviks may gloat and crow as much as they like. 
It does not worry us in the least. The Mensheviks have no 
organisation. Chkheidze and Tsereteli are one thing — they 
are ministers without portfolios; the Organising Committee 
is another thing — they are Social-Democrats without a 
policy; the "defencists" are a third thing — they support 
Plekhanov. Martov is a fourth thing — he will not support 
the loan. Small wonder that people who have neither an 
organisation nor a party crow and caper light-heartedly at 
discovering a fault in somebody else's organisation. 

We have no reason to fear the truth. Yes, comrade work- 
ers, the crisis has revealed certain shortcomings in our 
organisation. We must set to work to correct them! 

The crisis revealed a very feeble attempt to move "slight- 
ly leftward" of the Central Committee. Our Central Com- 
mittee did not yield, and we do not doubt for a moment that 
harmony within our Party is already being restored, a har- 
mony that is voluntary, intelligent, and complete. 

Every day proves the soundness of our line. To put it 
through effectively, the proletarian masses must be thrice 
as well organised as they are now. Every district, every 
block, every factory, every military company must have a 
strong, close-knit organisation capable of acting as one 
man. Each such organisation must have direct ties with the 
centre, with the Central Committee, and those ties must be 



224 



V. I. LENIN 



strong, so that the enemy may not break them at the first 
blow; those ties must be permanent, must be strengthened 
and tested every day and every hour, so that the enemy does 
not catch us unawares. 

Comrade workers! Let us build a strong proletarian mass 
organisation everywhere, from the bottom up, both among 
the working-class mass and in the army, and let us start it 
immediately. We shall not be put out by the malicious glee 
of our enemies, we shall not be daunted by occasional errors 
and shortcomings. We shall correct them. The future is 
working for us. 



Pravda No. 40, 
May 8 (April 25), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



THE SEVENTH {APRIL) 
ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 
OF THE R.S.D.L.P.{B.f 2 

APRIL 24-29 (MAY 7-12), 1917 



227 



SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE OPENING 
OF THE CONFERENCE 
APRIL 24 (MAY 7) 



Comrades, we are assembled here as the first conference 
of the proletarian party, in conditions of the Russian revo- 
lution and a developing world revolution as well. The time 
is approaching when the assertion of the founders of scien- 
tific socialism, and the unanimous forecast of the socialists 
who gathered at the Basle Congress, that world war would 
inevitably lead to revolution, is being everywhere proved 
correct. 

In the nineteenth century Marx and Engels, following 
the proletarian movements in various countries and analys- 
ing the possible prospects for a social revolution, repeatedly 
stated that the roles would, in general, be distributed among 
these countries in proportion to, and in accordance with, 
their historically conditioned national features. They ex- 
pressed their idea briefly as: The French worker will begin, 
the German will finish it. 

The great honour of beginning the revolution has fallen to 
the Russian proletariat. But the Russian proletariat must 
not forget that its movement and revolution are only part 
of a world revolutionary proletarian movement, which in 
Germany, for example, is gaining momentum with every 
passing day. Only from this angle can we define our tasks. 

I declare the All-Russia Conference open. Please nominate 
your candidates for election to the Presiding Committee. 



A brief report published 
May 12 (April 29), 1917 
in Sotsial-Demokrat No. 43 

First published in full Published according 

in 1921 in N. Lenin to the typewritten copy 

(V. Ulyanov), Works, of the Minutes 
Vol. XIV, Part 2 



228 



V. I. LENIN 



2 

REPORT ON THE CURRENT SITUATION 
APRIL 24 (MAY 7) 

Comrades, in evaluating the current situation I have to 
deal with an exceedingly broad subject, which, to my mind, 
falls into three parts. First, the estimate of the political 
situation proper here in Russia, our attitude towards the 
government and the dual power that has come into existence; 
second, our attitude towards the war; third, the international 
background to the working-class movement, a situation 
which has brought the workers of the world face to face 
with a socialist revolution. 

I think, I shall have to deal only in brief with some of 
the points. Furthermore, I am going to submit to you a 
draft resolution on all these questions with this reservation, 
however, that, owing to the extreme lack of facilities and 
to the political crisis that has been created here in Petro- 
grad, we were unable to have discussions of the resolution, 
or to communicate it in good time to the local comrades. 
I repeat, then, that these are only preliminary drafts, de- 
signed to make work easier in the committee and concentrate 
it on a few of the most essential questions. 

I begin with the first question. If I am not mistaken, 
the Moscow Conference adopted the same resolution as the 
Petrograd City Conference. (Interruption: "With amend- 
ments.") I have not seen the amendments, and I cannot pass 
an opinion. But since the Petrograd resolution was pub- 
lished in Pravda, I shall take it for granted, if no one objects, 
that it is known to everybody here. I submit this as a draft 
resolution to the present All-Russia Conference. 

Most of the parties in the petty-bourgeois bloc control- 
ling the Petrograd Soviet represent our policy, in contrast 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



229 



to their own, as a rash policy. What distinguishes our poli- 
cy is our demand above all for a precise class analysis of 
current events. The chief sin of the petty-bourgeois bloc is 
that it resorts to empty phrases to conceal from the people 
the truth about the government's class character. 

If the Moscow comrades have any amendments, they may 
present them now. 

(Reads the resolution of the Petrograd City Conference 
on the attitude towards the Provisional Government.) 

"Considering: 

"(1) that the Provisional Government, by its class charac- 
ter, is the organ of landowner and bourgeois domination; 

"(2) that the Provisional Government and the classes 
it represents are bound with indissoluble economic and po- 
litical ties to Russian and Anglo-French imperialism; 

"(3) that the Provisional Government is carrying out 
its proclaimed programme only partially, and only under 
pressure of the revolutionary proletariat and, to some ex- 
tent, of the petty bourgeoisie; 

"(4) that the forces of bourgeois and landowner counter- 
revolution, now being organised, have already, under cover 
of the Provisional Government and with the latter's obvious 
connivance, launched an attack on revolutionary democracy; 

"(5) that the Provisional Government is avoiding fixing 
the date for the elections to the Constituent Assembly, 
preventing the arming of the people as a whole, opposing 
the transfer of all the land to the people, foisting upon it 
the landowners' way of settling the agrarian question, 
obstructing the introduction of an eight-hour workday, con- 
doning counter-revolutionary propaganda in the army (by 
Guchkov and Co.), rallying the high-ranking officers 
against the soldiers, etc...." 

I have read the first part of the resolution giving a class 
definition of the Provisional Government. There are scarcely 
any essential differences between this resolution and that 
of the Moscow comrades, as far as it is possible to judge 
from the latter's text alone. But the general definition of 
the government as counter-revolutionary is, in my opinion, 
incorrect. If we speak in general terms, we must specify 
which revolution we mean. As far as the bourgeois revolu- 



230 



V. I. LENIN 



tion is concerned, this cannot be said, because that revolu- 
tion is already completed. As far as the proletarian and peas- 
ant revolution is concerned, such a statement is premature, 
for we cannot be sure that the peasants will necessarily go 
farther than the bourgeoisie. To express our confidence in 
the peasants, particularly now that they have turned to 
imperialism and defencism, i.e., to supporting the war, is, 
in my opinion, unsound. At the present moment the peasants 
have entered into a number of agreements with the Cadets. 
That is why I regard this clause in the Moscow resolution 
as politically incorrect. We want the peasants to go farther 
than the bourgeoisie, we want them to take the land 
from the landowners, but so far we can say nothing definite 
about their future conduct. 

We studiously avoid the words "revolutionary democracy". 
We may use them when there is a question of an attack by 
the government, but at the present moment they are highly 
deceptive, for it is very difficult to distinguish the classes 
which have mingled in this chaos. Our task is to free those 
who are trailing behind. The Soviets are important to us not 
as a form; to us it is important what classes they represent. 
We must, therefore, do a great deal of work to develop the 
class-consciousness of the proletariat.... 

(Resumes reading the resolution.) 

"(6) that this government, at the same time, is relying 
at present on the confidence of, and, to a certain extent, on 
an actual agreement with, the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies, which now unites an obvious major- 
ity of workers and soldiers, i.e., peasants; 

"(7) that every step of the Provisional Government, in 
both its domestic and foreign policies, is bound to open the 
eyes, not only of the proletarians in town and country and 
the semi-proletarians, but also of the broad sections of the 
petty bourgeoisie, to the real nature of this government, 

"the Conference resolves that: 

"(1) in order to ensure all the state power passing into 
the hands of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
or other bodies directly expressing the will of the people, 
prolonged work is necessary to develop proletarian class- 
consciousness and to unite the urban and rural proletarians 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



231 



against the vacillations of the petty bourgeoisie, for only 
work of this nature can guarantee real advance on the part 
of the whole revolutionary people; 

"(2) this calls for many-sided activity within the Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, for work aimed at in 
creasing the number of these Soviets, consolidating their 
power, and welding together our Party's proletarian inter- 
nationalist groups in the Soviets; 

"(3) we must organise our Social-Democratic forces more 
effectively, so as to be able to direct the new wave of the 
revolutionary movement under the banner of revolutionary 
Social-Democracy." 

This is the sum and substance of our policy. The whole 
petty bourgeoisie is now wavering and trying to conceal 
this wavering behind the empty phrase about revolutionary 
democracy. We must contrapose these waverings with a 
proletarian line. The counter-revolutionaries wish to frus- 
trate it by premature action. Our task is to increase the num- 
ber of Soviets, to reinforce them and to consolidate the unity 
of our Party. 

The Moscow comrades have added to Point 3 the demand 
for control. This control is represented by Chkheidze, Stek- 
lov, Tsereteli, and other leaders of the petty-bourgeois 
bloc. Control without power is an empty phrase. How can I 
control Britain? To control her, you would have to seize 
her fleet. I can understand the uneducated mass of workers 
and soldiers naively and unconsciously believing in control. 
You only have to think about the fundamental aspects of 
control, however, to realise that such a belief is a departure 
from the basic principles of the class struggle. What is 
control? If I write a paper, or a resolution, they will write 
a counter-resolution. To control, you must have power. 
If the broad mass of the petty-bourgeois bloc do not under- 
stand this, we must have the patience to explain it to them, 
but under no circumstances must we tell them a lie. If, 
however, I obscure this fundamental condition by speaking 
of control, then I am guilty of telling a lie and am playing 
into the hands of the capitalists and the imperialists. 
"You're welcome to your control, but we'll have the guns. 
Enjoy your control," they say. They know that at the moment 
the people cannot be denied their demand. Control without 



232 



V. I. LENIN 



power is an empty petty-bourgeois phrase that hampers 
the progress of the Russian revolution. That is why I object 
to the Moscow comrades' third point. 

As for this peculiar interlocking of two powers, in which 
the Provisional Government, lacking power, guns, soldiers, 
and the armed mass of people, leans on the Soviets that are 
relying so far on promises and are carrying out a policy of 
upholding those promises, if you want to play this game, 
you are doomed to failure. Our task is to keep out of this 
game. We shall carry on our work of explaining to the prole- 
tariat the unsoundness of this policy, and events, at every 
turn, will prove the correctness of our position. So far we 
are in the minority; the masses still do not believe us. We can 
wait; they will side with us when the government shows its 
face. The government's vacillations may repel them and they 
will swing over to our side; and then, taking into considera- 
tion the balance of forces, we shall say: Our time has come. 

I now pass on to the question of the war. This question 
actually united us when we came out against the loan, the 
attitude towards which showed immediately and clearly the 
alignment of political forces. As Rech has stated, everybody, 
except Yedinstvo, is wavering; the entire petty bourgeoisie 
is for the loan — with reservations. The capitalists make a 
wry face and pocket the resolution with a smile, saying: 
"You may do the talking, but we shall do the acting." All 
those now voting for the loan are known as social-chauvin- 
ists the world over. 

I shall now proceed to read the resolution on the war. 
It is in three parts: (1) a characterisation of the war from 
the point of view of its class significance; (2) the revolu- 
tionary defencism of the masses, something that cannot be 
found in any other country; (3) how to end the war. 

Many of us, myself included, have had occasion to address 
the people, particularly the soldiers, and it seems to me that 
when everything is explained to them from the class point 
of view, there is one thing in our stand on which they are 
most unclear, namely, in what way we intend to end the war, 
in what way we think it possible to stop it. The masses are 
in a maze of misunderstanding, there is complete ignorance 
about our stand; that is why we must express ourselves most 
clearly on this. 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



233 



(Reads the draft resolution on the war.) 

"The present war is, on the part of both groups of the 
belligerent powers, an imperialist war, i.e., one waged by 
the capitalists for world domination, for division of the cap- 
italists' spoils, for profitable markets for finance and bank- 
ing capital, and for the subjugation of the weaker nation- 
alities. 

"The transfer of state power in Russia from Nicholas II 
to the government of Guchkov, Lvov, and others, to the gov- 
ernment of the landowners and capitalists, did not and 
could not alter the class character and meaning of the war 
as far as Russia is concerned. 

"The fact that the new government is carrying on the 
same imperialist war, i.e., an aggressive war of conquest, 
became glaringly apparent when the government not only 
failed to publish the secret treaties between ex-Tsar Nicho- 
las II and the capitalist governments of Britain, France, 
etc., but even formally confirmed these treaties. This was 
done without consulting the will of the people and with the 
express purpose of deceiving them, for it is well known that 
the secret treaties concluded by the ex-tsar are outrageously 
predatory treaties that give the Russian capitalists a free 
hand to rob China, Persia, Turkey, Austria, etc. 

"For this reason no proletarian party that does not wish 
to break completely with internationalism, i.e., with the 
fraternal solidarity of the workers of all countries in their 
struggle against the yoke of Capital, can support the present 
war, or the present government, or its loans, no matter in 
what glowing terms these loans may be described. 

"Nor can any trust be placed in the present government's 
promise to renounce annexations, i.e., the conquest of for- 
eign countries or the forcible retention of any nationality 
within the confines of Russia. For, in the first place, the 
capitalists, bound together by the thousand threads of 
Russian and Anglo-French banking capital, and intent on 
protecting the interests of capital, cannot renounce annexa- 
tions in this war without at the same time ceasing to be 
capitalists, without renouncing the profits from the thou- 
sands of millions invested in loans, concessions, war indus- 
tries, etc. And secondly, the new-government, after renounc- 



234 



V. I. LENIN 



ing annexations to mislead the people, declared through 
Milyukov (Moscow, April 9, 1917) that it had no intention 
of renouncing them. Finally, as revealed by Dyelo Naroda, 
a newspaper in which Minister Kerensky co-operates, Milyu- 
kov has not even sent his statement on the renunciation 
of annexations to other countries. 

"Therefore, in warning the people against the capital 
sts' empty promises, the Conference declares that it is 
necessary to make a clear distinction between a renunciation 
of annexations in word and a renunciation of annexations in 
deed, i.e., the immediate publication of all the secret preda- 
tory treaties, of all acts of foreign policy, and the taking 
of immediate steps to fully liberate all peoples who are 
being oppressed, kept bound to Russia by force or kept in a 
state of subjection by the capitalist class, which is con- 
tinuing the policy of ex-Tsar Nicholas II, a policy that is a 
disgrace to our nation." 

The second half of this part of the resolution deals with 
the promises made by the government. For a Marxist, per- 
haps, this part is superfluous; for the people, however, it is 
important. That is why we must add the reasons why we 
do not believe those promises, why we must not trust the 
government. The present government's promises to abandon 
its imperialist policy are not to be trusted. Our policy in 
this respect should not be in saying that we demand that the 
government publish the treaties. This would be a vain hope. 
To demand this of a capitalist government would be like 
demanding an exposure of commercial swindling. When we 
say that it is necessary to renounce annexations and indemni- 
ties, we should indicate how this can be done; and if we are 
asked who can do it, our answer will be that this step is by 
its very nature a revolutionary one, a step which only the 
revolutionary proletariat can make. Otherwise these prom- 
ises will remain empty pledges and wishes used by the capi- 
talists to keep the people in leading-strings. 

(Continues reading the draft resolution.) 

"The 'revolutionary defencism', which in Russia has now 
permeated almost all the Narodnik parties (the Popular 
Socialists, Trudoviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries), the op- 
portunist party of the Menshevik Social-Democrats (the 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



235 



Organising Committee, Chkheidze, Tsereteli, etc.), and the 
majority of the non-party revolutionaries, reflects, in point 
of class significance, the interests and point of view of the 
petty bourgeoisie, the small proprietors, and the well-to-do 
peasants, who, like the capitalists, profit by oppressing 
weak peoples. On the other hand, it is a result of the decep- 
tion of the masses by the capitalists, who instead of publish- 
ing the secret treaties confine themselves to promises and 
glib talk. 

"It must be admitted that the great mass of 'revolutionary 
defencists' are honest, i.e., they are really opposed to annexa- 
tions, to conquests, to oppressing weak peoples; they are 
really working for a democratic, non-coercive peace among 
all the belligerents. This must be admitted for the reason 
that the class position of the urban and rural prole- 
tarians and semi-proletarians (i.e., of the people who earn 
their living, wholly or partly, by selling their labour-power 
to the capitalists) makes these classes uninterested in capi- 
talist profits. 

"Therefore, while recognising that any concessions to 
'revolutionary defencism' are absolutely impermissible and 
virtually signify a complete break with internationalism and 
socialism, the Conference declares that our Party will preach 
abstention from violence as long as the Russian capitalists 
and their Provisional Government confine themselves to 
threats of violence against the people (for example, Guch- 
kov's unhappily notorious decree threatening the soldiers 
with punishment for arbitrary displacement of superiors), 
as long as the capitalists have not started using violence 
against the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', Agricul- 
tural Labourers', and other Deputies, which organise them- 
selves freely, and freely elect and dismiss all public officers. 
Our Party will fight against the profound and fatal error of 
'revolutionary defencism' solely by means of comradely 
persuasion, bringing home the truth that the attitude of 
unreasoning trust of the broad masses in the government of 
the capitalists, who are the worst enemies of peace and so- 
cialism, is, in present-day Russia, the chief obstacle to a 
speedy termination of the war." 

Some of the petty bourgeoisie have an interest in this 
policy of the capitalists — of that there can be no doubt. That 



236 



V. I. LENIN 



is why it would be wrong for the proletarian party at present 
to place any hopes in the community of interests of the pro- 
letariat and the peasantry. We are fighting to win the peas- 
ants over to our side, but they are, to a certain extent, 
consciously on the side of the capitalists. 

There is not the slightest doubt that, as a class, the prole- 
tariat and semi-proletariat are not interested in the war. 
They are influenced by tradition and deception. They still 
lack political experience. Therefore, our task is one of pa- 
tient explanation. We make no concessions to them on mat- 
ters of principle; yet we cannot look upon them as social- 
chauvinists. This section of the population has never been 
socialist, nor has it the slightest idea about socialism, it 
is only just awakening to political life. Nevertheless, its 
class-consciousness is growing and broadening with extra- 
ordinary rapidity. We must be able to bring our views home 
to it, and this is now the most difficult task of all, particu- 
larly for a party that only yesterday worked underground. 

Some may ask: Have we not gone back on our own prin- 
ciples? We were advocating the conversion of the imperial- 
ist war into a civil war, and now we are contradicting our- 
selves. But the first civil war in Russia has come to an end; 
we are now advancing towards the second war — the war 
between imperialism and the armed people. In this transition- 
al period, as long as the armed force is in the hands of the 
soldiers, as long as Milyukov and Guchkov have not yet re- 
sorted to violence, this civil war, so far as we are concerned, 
turns into peaceful, prolonged, and patient class propaganda. 
To speak of civil war before people have come to realise the 
need for it is undoubtedly to lapse into Blanquism. We are 
for civil war, but only for civil war waged by a politically 
conscious class. He can be overthrown who is known to the 
people as an oppressor. There are no oppressors in Russia 
at present; it is the soldiers and not the capitalists who now 
have the guns and rifles; the capitalists are getting what they 
want now not by force but by deception, and to shout about 
violence now is senseless. One must be able to uphold the 
Marxist point of view, which says that this conversion of 
imperialist war into a civil war should be based on objective, 
and not subjective, conditions. For the time being we with- 
draw that slogan, but only for the time being. It is the 



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soldiers and the workers who possess the arms now, not the 
capitalists. So long as the government has not started war, 
our propaganda remains peaceful. 

The government would like to see us make the first impru- 
dent move towards revolutionary action, as this would 
be to its advantage. It is exasperated because our Party has 
put forward the slogan of peaceful demonstrations. We must 
not cede one iota of our principles to the petty bourgeoisie, 
which is now marking time. The proletarian party would 
be making a dangerous mistake if it based its tactics on 
subjective desires where organisation is required. We cannot 
say that the majority is with us; what we need in the present 
situation is caution, caution, caution. To base proletarian 
tactics on subjective desires means to condemn it to failure. 

The third point deals with the question of how to end 
the war. The Marxist point of view is well known, but the 
difficulty is how to bring it home to the masses in the clear- 
est form possible. We are not pacifists, and we cannot re- 
pudiate a revolutionary war. In what way does a revolution- 
ary war differ from a capitalist war? The difference is, above 
all, a class difference: which class is interested in the war? 
What policy does the interested class pursue in that war?... 
In addressing the people we must give concrete answers to 
their questions. And so the first question is how to distin- 
guish a revolutionary war from a capitalist war. The ordi- 
nary man in the street does not grasp the distinction, he 
does not understand that it is a matter of class distinction. 
We must not confine ourselves to theory alone, we must 
demonstrate in practice that we shall wage a really revolu- 
tionary war only when the proletariat is in power. I think 
that by presenting the question this way we are giving the 
clearest possible answer to the question as to what this 
war is about and who is waging it. 

Pravda has published the draft of an appeal to the soldiers 
of all the belligerent countries.* We have received informa- 
tion that fraternisation is taking place at the front, but 
this fraternisation is as yet politically semi-conscious. 
What it lacks is a clear political idea. The soldiers have 
come to feel instinctively that action must come from below. 



* See pp. 186-88 of this volume.— Ed. 



238 



V. I. LENIN 



The class instinct of these revolutionary-minded people has 
suggested this path to them as being the only correct path. 
For a revolution, however, this is insufficient. We want to 
give a clear-cut political answer. In order to put an end 
to this war, state power must pass to the revolutionary class. 
I suggest that an appeal to the soldiers of all the belligerent 
countries be drawn up in the name of the Conference and 
published in all the appropriate languages. If, instead of 
all these hard-worked phrases about peace conferences, half 
of whose members are secret or open agents of the imperial- 
ist governments, we send out this appeal, we shall achieve 
our purpose a thousand times quicker than we would by 
all those peace conferences. We refuse to have any dealings 
with the German Plekhanovs. When we were passing 
through Germany, those gentlemen, the social-chauvinists, 
the German Plekhanovs, tried to get into our carriage, but 
we told them that we would not allow a single one of them 
in and that if any of them did get in they would not get out 
again without our having a big row. Had a man like Karl 
Liebknecht been permitted to come to see us, we would 
certainly have talked matters over with him. When we issue 
our appeal to the working people of all countries, giving 
an answer to the question of how to end the war, and when 
the soldiers read our answer showing a political way out 
of the war, then fraternisation will make tremendous strides. 
This must be done in order to raise fraternisation from 
the level of an instinctive revulsion against war to a clear 
political understanding of how to get out of it. 

I now pass on to the third question, namely, the analysis 
of the current situation with reference to the position of the 
international working-class movement and that of interna- 
tional capitalism. From the point of view of Marxism, in 
discussing imperialism it is absurd to restrict oneself to 
conditions in one country alone, since all capitalist countries 
are closely bound together. Now, in time of war, this bond 
has grown immeasurably stronger. All humanity is thrown 
into a tangled bloody heap from which no nation can extri- 
cate itself on its own. Though there are more and less 
advanced countries, this war has bound them all together 
by so many threads that escape from this tangle for any 
single country acting on its own is inconceivable. 



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We are all agreed that power must be wielded by the 
Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. But what can 
and should they do if power passes to them, i.e., if power 
is in the hands of the proletarians and semi-proletarians? 
This is an involved and difficult situation. Speaking of 
the transfer of power, there is a danger — one that played a 
big part in previous revolutions, too — namely, the danger 
that the revolutionary class will not know what to do with 
state power when it has won it. The history of revolutions 
gives us examples of revolutions that failed for this very 
reason. The Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, 
which cover the whole of Russia with their network, now 
stand at the centre of the revolution; it seems to me, however, 
that we have not sufficiently studied or understood them. 
Should they take over the power, it will no longer be a state 
in the ordinary sense of the word. The world has seen no 
such state power functioning for any considerable length 
of time, but the whole world's labour movement has been 
approaching it. This would be a state of the Paris Com- 
mune type. Such power is a dictatorship, i.e., it rests not 
on law, not on the formal will of the majority, but on direct, 
open force. Force is the instrument of power. How, then, 
will the Soviets apply this power? Will they return to the 
old way of governing by means of the police? Will they 
govern by means of the old organs of power? In my opinion 
they cannot do this. At any rate, they will be faced with 
the immediate task of creating a state that is not bourgeois. 
Among Bolsheviks, I have compared this state to the Paris 
Commune in the sense that the latter destroyed the old 
administrative organs and replaced them by absolutely new 
ones that were the direct organs of the workers. I am accused 
of having now used a word which the capitalists fear most 
of all, as they have begun to interpret it as a desire for the 
immediate introduction of socialism. I have used it, however, 
only in the sense of replacing the old organs by new, proletar- 
ian ones. Marx saw in this the greatest advance of the 
entire world proletarian movement. 83 The question of the 
social tasks of the proletariat is of the greatest practical 
significance to us, first, because we are now tied up with 
all the other countries, and are unable to disentangle our- 
selves — the proletariat will either break free as a whole 



240 



V. I. LENIN 



or it will be crushed secondly, the existence of Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies is a fact. No one doubts 
that they cover the whole of Russia, that they are a state 
power and that there can be no other power. If that is so, 
we should form a clear idea as to what use they can make of 
that power. Some people say that it is the same type of power 
as in France or America, but they have nothing of the kind 
there; such a direct power does not exist there. 

The resolution on the current situation is in three parts. 
The first defines the objective situation created by the im- 
perialist war, the position in which world capitalism finds 
itself; the second deals with the state of the international 
proletarian movement; the third deals with the tasks of the 
Russian working class when power passes into its hands. 
In the first part I formulate the conclusion that during the 
war capitalism has developed even more than before the war. 
It has already taken over entire fields of production. Twenty- 
seven years ago, in 1891, when the Germans adopted their 
Erfurt Programme, 84 Engels said that one could not continue 
to define capitalism as a system of production lacking 
planning. 85 This is now out of date; once there are trusts 
there can no longer be lack of planning. Capitalism has made 
gigantic strides, particularly in the twentieth century, and 
the war has done more than was done for twenty-five years. 
State control of industry has made progress in Britain as 
well as in Germany. Monopoly, in general, has evolved 
into state monopoly. The objective state of affairs has shown 
that the war has stepped up capitalist development, which 
has moved forward from capitalism to imperialism, from 
monopoly to state control. All this has brought the social- 
ist revolution nearer and has created the objective condi- 
tions for it. Thus the socialist revolution has been brought 
closer as a result of the war. 

Before the war Britain enjoyed a greater degree of freedom 
than any other country in the world, a point which politi- 
cians of the Cadet type have always stressed. There was 
freedom there because there was no revolutionary movement 
there. The war wrought an instant change. In a country 
where for decades no attempt was ever made to encroach upon 
the freedom of the socialist press, a typically tsarist censor- 
ship was immediately established, and all the prisons were 



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filled with socialists. For centuries the capitalists there had 
learned to rule the people without the use of force, and if 
they have resorted to force, it means that they feel that the 
revolutionary movement is growing, that they cannot act 
otherwise. When we said that Liebknecht represented the 
masses, although he was one against a hundred German 
Plekhanovs, we were told that that was a Utopian idea, an 
illusion. Yet, anyone who has, if only once, attended work- 
ers' meetings abroad knows that the sympathy of the masses 
for Liebknecht is an undeniable fact. His bitterest opponents 
had to manoeuvre when facing the public, and if they did 
not pretend to be his supporters, neither did they dare to 
come out against him. Now things have gone still farther. 
We now have mass strikes, we have fraternisation at the 
front. To attempt prophecy in this respect would be a great 
mistake, but we cannot get away from the fact that sympa- 
thy for the International is growing, that revolutionary unrest 
is beginning in the German army. This is a fact which shows 
that the revolution in Germany is mounting. 

What, then, are the tasks of the revolutionary proletar- 
iat? The main flaw, the main error, in all the socialists' 
arguments is that this question is put in too general a form, 
as the question of the transition to socialism. What we 
should talk about, however, are concrete steps and measures. 
Some of them are ripe, and some are not. We are now at a 
transition stage. Clearly, we have brought to the fore new 
forms, unlike those in bourgeois states. The Soviets of Work- 
ers' and Soldiers' Deputies are a form of state which does 
not exist and never did exist in any country. This form rep- 
resents the first steps towards socialism and is inevitable at 
the beginning of a socialist society. This is a fact of decisive 
importance. The Russian revolution has created the Soviets. 
No bourgeois country in the world has or can have such state 
institutions. No socialist revolution can be operative with 
any other state power than this. The Soviets must take power 
not for the purpose of building an ordinary bourgeois repub- 
lic, nor for the purpose of making a direct transition to 
socialism. This cannot be. What, then, is the purpose? 
The Soviets must take power in order to make the first con- 
crete steps towards this transition, steps that can and 
should be made. In this respect fear is the worst enemy. The 



242 



V. I. LENIN 



masses must be urged to take these steps immediately, 
otherwise the power of the Soviets will have no meaning 
and will give the people nothing. 

I shall now attempt to answer the question as to what 
concrete measures we can suggest to the people without run- 
ning counter to our Marxist convictions. 

Why do we want the power to pass to the Soviets of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies? 

The first measure the Soviets must carry out is the nation- 
alisation of the land. All the peoples are talking about 
nationalisation. Some say it is a most Utopian measure; 
nevertheless, everybody comes to accept it, because land- 
ownership in Russia is so complicated that the only way 
out is to remove all boundary lines dividing the land and 
make it the property of the state. Private ownership of land 
must be abolished. That is the task confronting us, because 
the majority of the people are in favour of it. To accomplish 
it we need the Soviets. This measure cannot be carried out 
with the help of the old government officials. 

The second measure. We cannot be for "introducing" 
socialism — this would be the height of absurdity. We must 
preach socialism. The majority of the population in Russia 
are peasants, small farmers who can have no idea of social- 
ism. But what objections can they have to a bank being set 
up in each village to enable them to improve their farming? 
They can say nothing against it. We must put over these 
practical measures to the peasants in our propaganda, and 
make the peasants realise that they are necessary. 

Quite another thing is the Sugar Syndicate. This is a 
clear fact. Here our proposal must be direct and practical: 
these already fully developed syndicates must be taken over 
by the state. If the Soviets intend to assume power, it is 
only for such ends. There is no other reason why they should 
do so. The alternative is: either the Soviets develop further, 
or they die an ignominious death as in the case of the 
Paris Commune. If it is a bourgeois republic that is need- 
ed, this can very well be left to the Cadets. 

I shall conclude by referring to a speech which impressed 
me most. I heard a coal miner deliver a remarkable speech. 
Without using a single bookish word, he told us how they had 
made the revolution. Those miners were not concerned with 



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the question as to whether or not they should have a presi- 
dent. They seized the mine, and the important question to 
them was how to keep the cables intact so that production 
might not be interrupted. Then came the question of bread, 
which was scarce, and the miners also agreed on the method 
of obtaining it. Now that is a real programme of the revolu- 
tion, not derived from books. That is what I call really 
winning power locally. 

Nowhere is the bourgeoisie so well established as in Pet- 
rograd. Here the capitalists have the power in their hands. 
But throughout the country, the peasants, without pur- 
suing any socialist tasks, are carrying out purely practical 
measures. I think that only this programme of the revolution- 
ary movement indicates the true path of the revolution. 
We are for these measures being started on with the great- 
est caution and circumspection. But it is only these 
measures that must be carried out; we should go ahead in 
this direction only. There is no other way out. Unless this 
is done the Soviets will be broken up and will die an igno- 
minious death. But if the revolutionary proletariat should 
actually win power, it will only be for the sake of going for- 
ward. And to go forward means to take definite steps to get 
us out of the war — words alone won't do it. The complete 
success of these steps is only possible by world revolution, 
if the revolution kills the war, if the workers of the whole 
world support the revolution. Taking power is, therefore, 
the only practical measure and the only way out. 



A brief report published 
May 8 (April 25), 1917 
in Prauda No. 40 

First published in full Published according 

in 1921 in N. Lenin to the typewritten copy 

(V. Ulyanov), Works, of the Minutes 

Vol. XIV, Part 2 



244 



V. I. LENIN 



3 

SPEECH WINDING UP THE DEBATE 
ON THE REPORT ON THE CURRENT SITUATION 
APRIL 24 (MAY 7) 



Comrade Kamenev was quick to seize on the talk of 
adventurism. I shall have to dwell on this. Comrade Kamenev 
is convinced and asserts that in opposing the slogan "Down 
with the Provisional Government", we showed vacillation. 
I agree with him; there certainly has been vacillation away 
from revolutionary policy, and this vacillation must be 
avoided. I think that our differences with Comrade Kamenev 
are not very great, because by agreeing with us he has 
changed his position. In what did our adventurism consist? 
It was the attempt to resort to forcible measures. We did 
not know to what extent the masses had swung to our side 
during that anxious moment. If it had been a strong swing 
things would have been different. We advanced the slogan 
for peaceful demonstrations, but several comrades from the 
Petrograd Committee issued a different slogan. We can- 
celled it, but were too late to prevent the masses from follow- 
ing the slogan of the Petrograd Committee. We say that 
the slogan "Down with the Provisional Government" is 
an adventurist slogan, that the government cannot be over- 
thrown now. That is why we have advanced the slogan for 
peaceful demonstrations. All we wanted was a peaceful re- 
connoitring of the enemy's forces; we did not want to give 
battle. But the Petrograd Committee turned a trifle more 
to the left, which in this case is certainly a very grave 
crime. Our organisational apparatus proved weak — our deci- 
sions are not being carried out by everyone. Together with 
the correct slogan "Long Live the Soviets of Workers' and 



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Soldiers' Deputies!" stood the incorrect slogan "Down with 
the Provisional Government". At the time of action, to go 
a "trifle more to the left" was wrong. We regard this as a 
very serious crime, as disorganisation. Had we deliberately 
allowed such an act, we would not have remained in the 
Central Committee for one moment. It happened because of 
the weakness of our organisational apparatus. Yes, there 
were shortcomings in our organisation. We have raised the 
question of improving our organisation. 

The Mensheviks and Co. are working the word "adventur- 
ism" as hard as they can. But it is they, of all people, who 
had neither an organisation nor a policy. We have both an 
organisation and a policy. 

At that moment the bourgeoisie mobilised all its forces; 
the centre hid itself, and we organised a peaceful demon- 
stration. We were the only ones who had a political line. 
Did we make mistakes? We did. Only he who does nothing 
never errs. Perfect organisation is a difficult thing. 

Now about control. 

We are at one with Comrade Kamenev, except on the ques- 
tion of control. He views control as a political act. Subjec- 
tively, however, he understands this word better than Chkheid- 
ze and others. We will not accept control. People tell us 
that we have isolated ourselves, that, by uttering a lot of 
terrible words about communism, we have frightened the 
bourgeoisie into fits Maybe! But it was not this that iso- 
lated us. It was the question of the loan that caused our 
isolation. It was on this question that we found ourselves 
in the minority. Yes, we are in the minority. Well, what of 
it? To be a socialist while chauvinism is the craze means to 
be in the minority. To be in the majority means to be a 
chauvinist. At the moment the peasant, together with 
Milyukov, is hitting socialism by means of the loan. The 
peasant follows Milyukov and Guchkov. This is a fact. 
The bourgeois-democratic dictatorship of the peasantry 
is an old formula. 

If we want to draw the peasantry into the revolution we 
must keep the proletariat apart from it in a separate proletar- 
ian party, because the peasantry is chauvinistic. To attract 
the peasant now means to surrender to the mercies of Milyu- 
kov. 



246 



V. I. LENIN 



The Provisional Government must be overthrown, but not 
now, and not in the usual way. We agree with Comrade 
Kamenev. But we must explain. It is this word that Comrade 
Kamenev has been harping on. Nevertheless, this is the 
only thing we can do. 

Comrade Rykov says that socialism must come from other 
countries with a more developed industry. But that is not 
so. Nobody can say who will begin it and who will end it. 
That is not Marxism; it is a parody of Marxism. 

Marx said that France would begin it and Germany would 
finish it. But the Russian proletariat has achieved more 
than anybody else. 

If we had said, "No tsar, but a dictatorship of the prole- 
tariat", well, this would have meant skipping over the 
petty bourgeoisie. But what we are saying is — help the revo- 
lution through the Soviets. We must not lapse into reform- 
ism. We are fighting to win, not to lose. At the worst we 
count on partial success. Even if we suffer defeat we shall 
achieve partial success. We shall get reforms. Reforms are 
an auxiliary instrument of the class struggle. 

Further, Comrade Rykov says that there is no period of 
transition from capitalism to socialism. That is not so. It 
is a break with Marxism. 

The line we have marked out is correct, and in future we 
shall make every effort to achieve an organisation in which 
there will be no Petrograd Committee-men to disobey the 
Central Committee. We are growing, and that is as it 
should be with a real party. 



First published in full in 1921 
in N. Lenin (V. Ulyanov), 
Works, Vol. XIV, Part 2 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



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247 



4 

SPEECH ON THE PROPOSAL TO CALL AN INTERNATIONAL 
SOCIALIST CONFERENCE 
APRIL 25 (MAY 8) 86 

I cannot agree with Comrade Nogin. We have here what 
I believe to be a fact of paramount political importance, 
and we are in duty bound to launch a vigorous campaign 
against the Russian and Anglo-French chauvinists who have 
turned down Borgbjerg's invitation to attend the conference. 
We must not forget the real issue, the motives under- 
lying this whole affair. I am going to read to you Borgbjerg's 
proposal exactly as reported by Rabochaya Gazeta. I shall 
show you that behind this comedy of a so-called socialist 
congress we shall find the very real political manoeuvres of 
German imperialism. The German capitalists, through the 
medium of the German social-chauvinists, are inviting the 
social-chauvinists of all countries to the conference. That 
is why we must launch a big campaign. 

Why do they do it through the socialists? Because they 
want to fool the working masses. These diplomats are subtle 
men; to say this thing openly would not do, so they send a 
Danish Plekhanov to do it for them. We have seen German 
social-chauvinists abroad hundreds of times; they must be 
exposed. 

(Reads an excerpt from "Rabochaya Gazeta" No. 39, for 
May 8 [April 25], 1917.) 

"On behalf of the joint committee of the three Scandinavian labour 
parties (the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish), Borgbjerg, editor of 
Social-demokraten, the Central Organ of the Danish Social-Democratic 
Party, has passed on to the Executive Committee of the Soviet of 



248 



V. I. LENIN 



Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies a message inviting all the socialist par- 
ties in Russia to attend an international socialist conference. Owing to 
Denmark's proximity to Germany, Borgbjerg was able to communi- 
cate with the German Social-Democrats, mainly with the 'majority' 
faction, and the committee learned from him the peace terms which 
the official Social-Democratic Party of Germany would consider 
acceptable, and which its representatives would propose to the 
conference. 

"These terms are: 

"First of all they subscribe to the principles laid down by the Scan- 
dinavian and Dutch socialists at the 1915 conference, namely, the self- 
determination of nations, an obligatory international court of arb- 
itration, and the demand for gradual disarmament. To this they add 
that the German Social-Democrats will urge that: 

"1. all territories seized by Germany and her allies be restored; 

"2. Russian Poland be granted full freedom to declare its independ- 
ence or to remain a part of Russia; 

"3. Belgium be restored as a fully independent state; 

"4. similarly, Serbia, Montenegro and Rumania be restored to the 
status of independent states; 

"5. Bulgaria be given the Bulgarian districts of Macedonia, and 
Serbia be given access to the Adriatic. 

"As regards Alsace-Lorraine, a peaceful agreement could be envis- 
aged to rectify Lorraine's frontiers; as far as the Poles of Poznan are 
concerned, the Germans will insist on their obtaining autonomy of 
national culture." 

There is not a shadow of doubt that this proposal comes 
from the German Government, who does not act directly, 
but resorts to the services of the Danish Plekhanovs, since 
German agents are obviously no good for this purpose. That 
is what social-chauvinists are for — to carry out such commis- 
sions. Our job is, on behalf of the seventy thousand workers 
of the proletarian party represented at this conference, to 
show them up to the whole world and reveal the motives 
they are trying to conceal. We must publish a detailed reso- 
lution, have it translated into foreign languages, and thus 
give these gentlemen the rebuff they deserve for daring to 
approach a socialist party. (Reads the draft resolution.) 

The socialist papers this morning are silent. They know 
what they are about. They know that silence is golden. 
Only Rabochaya Gazeta publishes an article, which manages 
to say nothing in many words. 

The Russian Government, more than anyone else, may 
rest assured that we are dealing here with an agent of the 
German Government. 



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What with all this shouting about the liberation of Alsace- 
Lorraine, we should remind those gentlemen that the whole 
question is simply one of lucre, since there is immense wealth 
in Alsace-Lorraine, and the German capitalists are fighting 
the French capitalists for the division of the booty. It is 
good for them to have the Plekhanovs say that the liberation 
of Alsace-Lorraine is a sacred cause. When the German 
social-chauvinists therefore talk about a peaceful rectifica- 
tion of the frontiers of Alsace-Lorraine, they mean a peaceful 
division of the spoil between the French and the German 
imperialists. 

One thing more I must add. I forgot to mention that the 
German representatives of the "Centre" — Kautsky, Haase, 
and Ledebour — have agreed to this conference. This is a 
most shameful thing. The British and French socialists have 
refused to attend the conference. This shows that the Anglo- 
French chauvinists, who call themselves socialists, are real- 
ly agents of the bourgeoisie, because they are instrumental 
in continuing the imperialist war despite the tremendous 
efforts made by the German socialist majority through 
Borgbjerg; for, without a doubt, the German Government 
is saying through Borgbjerg: the situation is such that I 
am forced to return your booty to you (the German colonies 
in Africa). This is confirmed by the fact that the situation in 
Germany is desperate; the country is on the brink of ruin; 
to carry on the war now is a hopeless task. That is why they 
say they are ready to give up almost all the booty, for they 
still hope to be able to carve something out for themselves. 
The diplomats communicate freely with each other, and the 
bourgeois papers, when writing of foreign affairs, fool the 
people with phrase-mongering. 

There is no doubt that when the British and French social- 
chauvinists said they were not going to the conference, 
they already knew all about it. They must have gone to 
their Foreign Offices where they were told: Such and such 
is the state of affairs, we don't want you to go there. That, 
I am sure, is how matters stood. 

If the Russian soldiers receive this resolution — and that, 
I think, should be done in the name of the seventy thousand 
members of our Party — they will really begin to see through 
the whole shady affair which has been concealed from 



250 



V. I. LENIN 



them. They will see then that Germany is unable to carry 
on her war of conquest, and that the Allies only aim at 
utterly crushing and robbing Germany. It cannot be denied 
that Borgbjerg is an agent of the German Government. 

This, comrades, is the reason why I think we must expose 
this socialist congress comedy. All these congresses are 
nothing but comedies designed to cover up the deals made 
by the diplomats behind the backs of the masses. Once and 
for all we must tell the truth for all the soldiers at the front 
and all the workers of the world to hear. Our campaign 
with regard to such proposals will serve, on the one hand, to 
explain our proletarian policy, and, on the other, it will be 
mass action on a scale never heard of before. I ask you, there- 
fore, to adopt this declaration, forward it to the Executive 
Committee, translate it into foreign languages, and publish it 
in tomorrow's Pravda. 



A brief report published 
May 9 (April 26), 1917 
in Pravda No. 41 

First published in full Published according 

in 1921 in N. Lenin to the typewritten copy 

(V. Ulyanov), Works, of the Minutes 

Vol. XIV, Part 2 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



251 



5 

RESOLUTION ON BORGBJERG'S PROPOSAL 

In connection with the arrival of the Danish "socialist" 
Borgbjerg and his invitation to attend a congress of social- 
ists in support of peace, which the German socialists of the 
Scheidemann and Plekhanov orientation propose on the 
basis of Germany renouncing most of her annexed territo- 
ries, the Conference resolves: 

Borgbjerg speaks on behalf of three Scandinavian par- 
ties — the Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. He received his 
mandate from the Swedish party headed by Branting, a 
socialist who has gone over to the side of "his own" bour- 
geoisie and betrayed the revolutionary union of the world's 
workers. We cannot recognise this Swedish party as a social- 
ist party. The only socialist party in Sweden we recognise 
is the youth party headed by Hoglund, Lindhagen, Strom, 
Carleson, and others. 

Neither do we consider the Danish party, from which 
Borgbjerg has his mandate, a socialist party, because it is 
headed by Stauning, a member of the bourgeois cabinet. 
Stauning's joining the bourgeois cabinet evoked a protest 
on the part of a group headed by Comrade Trier, which left 
the party, declaring that the Danish Socialist Party had 
become a bourgeois party. 

Borgbjerg, on his own admission, is acting in accord with 
Scheidemann and other German socialists who have defected 
to the German Government and the German bourgeoisie. 

There can be no doubt, therefore, that Borgbjerg, directly 
or indirectly, is really an agent of the German imperialist 
government. 

In view of this, the Conference considers the idea of our 
Party's attendance at a conference which includes Borgbjerg 
and Scheidemann to be unacceptable in principle, since 



252 



V. I. LENIN 



our task is to unite, not direct or indirect agents of the vari- 
ous imperialist governments, but the workers of all coun- 
tries, who, already during the war, have begun a revolution- 
ary fight against their own imperialist governments. 

Only a meeting and closer contact with these parties and 
groups are capable of effectively promoting the cause of 
peace. 

We warn the workers against placing their trust in the 
conference which is being organised by Borgbjerg, because 
this conference of pseudo-socialists will merely be a comedy 
to cover up the deals the diplomats are clinching behind its 
back, deals which involve an interchange of annexations by 
which Armenia, for example, will be "given" to the Russian 
capitalists, and Britain will be "given" the colonies she 
has robbed Germany of, while probably "ceding" to the Ger- 
man capitalists by way of compensation part of the Lorraine 
ore-bearing territories containing immense wealth in excel- 
lent iron ores, etc. 

The socialists cannot, without betraying the proletarian 
cause, take part directly or indirectly in this dirty huck- 
stering and haggling among the capitalists of various coun- 
tries over the division of the loot. 

At the same time the Conference considers that the German 
capitalists have not, even through the mouth of Borgbjerg, 
renounced all their annexations, not to mention the immedi- 
ate withdrawal of their troops from the territories which they 
have seized. Germany's Danish regions, her Polish territo- 
ries, and her French part of Alsace are as much annexations 
of the German capitalists as Kurland, Finland, Poland, 
Ukraine, etc., are of the Russian tsars and the Russian capi- 
talists. 

As to restoring Poland's independence, this is deception 
on the part of the German and Austrian capitalists as well 
as the Russian Provisional Government, which speaks of 
a so-called "free" military alliance between Poland and Rus- 
sia. To ascertain the real will of the people in all the annexed 
territories it is necessary that all troops should be withdrawn 
and the opinion of the population be given free expression. 
Only such a measure applied to the whole of Poland (that 
is, not only to the part the Russians have seized, but also 
the part the Germans and Austrians have seized) and to the 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



253 



whole of Armenia, etc., would be a step towards translating 
the governments' promises into deeds. 

The Conference, further, takes note of the fact that the 
British and French socialists, who have gone over to the 
side of their capitalist governments, have refused to attend 
the conference sponsored by Borgbjerg. This fact clearly 
demonstrates that the Anglo-French imperialist bourgeoisie, 
whose agents these pseudo-socialists are, wish to continue, 
wish to drag out this imperialist war without even desiring 
to discuss the concessions which the German imperialist 
bourgeoisie, under pressure of growing exhaustion, hunger, 
economic ruin, and — most important of all — the impending 
workers' revolution in Germany, are compelled to promise 
through the medium of Borgbjerg. 

The Conference resolves to give all these facts the widest 
possible publicity, and, in particular, to bring them to the 
notice of the Russian soldiers at the front in the fullest pos- 
sible detail. The Russian soldiers must learn that the Anglo- 
French capitalists, followed by the Russian, are dragging 
out the war, ruling out even such a conference to discuss peace 
terms. 

The Russian soldiers must learn that the watchword "War 
to a victorious finish" now serves as a screen for Britain's 
bid to strengthen her domination in Baghdad and in Ger- 
many's African colonies, for the striving of the Russian 
capitalists to plunder and subdue Armenia and Persia, etc., 
for the striving to bring about Germany's complete defeat. 

The Russian soldiers at the front must arrange voting 
in every military unit, in every regiment, in every company, 
on the question whether they want the war to be dragged out 
like this by the capitalists, or whether they want it to be 
speedily terminated by having all power in the state pass 
wholly and exclusively into the hands of the Soviets of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 

The party of the proletariat in Russia will attend a con- 
ference and enter into a fraternal union with only such work- 
ers' parties of other countries as are waging a revolutionary 
struggle in their own countries for all state power passing 
to the proletariat. 

Pravda No. 41, Published according 

May 9 (April 26), 1917 to the typewritten copy 

of the Minutes 



254 



V. I. LENIN 



6 

SPEECH ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SOVIETS 
APRIL 25 (MAY 8) 

BRIEF PRESS REPORT 



Comrade Lenin pointed out that the French revolution 
passed through a phase of municipal revolution, that it 
drew its strength from the local organs of self-government, 
which became its mainstay. In the Russian revolution we 
observe a certain bureaucratism in the centres, and a greater 
exercise of power wielded by the Soviets locally, in the 
provinces. In the capital cities the Soviets are politically 
more dependent upon the bourgeois central authorities than 
those in the provinces. In the centres it is not so easy to take 
control of production; in the provinces this has already been 
carried out to some extent. The inference is — to strengthen 
the local Soviets. Progress in this respect is possible, coming 
primarily from the provinces. 



Pravda No. 42, 
May 10 (April 27), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



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255 



7 

DRAFT THESES TO THE RESOLUTION ON THE SOVIETS 

In a number of local, especially working-class, centres 
the role of the Soviets has proved to be a particularly im- 
portant one. They hold undivided power. The bourgeoisie 
has been disarmed and reduced to complete submission; 
wages have been raised, and the hours of work reduced 
without lowering production; food supplies are ensured; 
control over production and distribution has been initiated; 
all the old authorities have been displaced; the revolutionary 
initiative of the peasants is encouraged both on the question 
of power (the dismissal of the old and setting up of new 
authorities) and on the question of the land. 

In the capital and certain large centres a reverse tendency 
is to be observed. The Soviets are less proletarian in their 
make-up, the influence of the petty-bourgeois elements in 
the executive committees is incomparably wider, and there 
is — especially in the commissions — "co-operation with the 
bourgeoisie", who curbs the revolutionary initiative of the 
masses, bureaucratises the revolutionary movement of the 
masses and their revolutionary aims, and blocks all revolu- 
tionary measures that are liable to affect the capitalists. 

It is quite natural and inevitable that after the fullest 
development of revolutionary energy in the capital, where 
the people and especially the workers had borne the 
greatest sacrifices in overthrowing tsarism — in the capital, 
where the central state power had been overthrown and the 
most centralised power of capital had given maximum power 
to the capitalists — the power of the Soviets (and the power 
of the proletariat) proved to be weak, the problem of devel- 
oping the revolution very difficult, the transition to a new 
stage of the revolution extremely hard, and the resistance 
of the bourgeoisie stronger than anywhere else. 



256 



V. I. LENIN 



Hence: so long as the main effort in the capital cities and 
the large centres still has to be directed towards building 
up forces for completing the second stage of the revolution, 
in the local areas the revolution can and should be advanced 
by direct action, by the exercise of undivided power by the 
Soviets of Workers' Deputies, by developing the revolution- 
ary energy of the worker and peasant mass, by establishing 
control over the production and distribution of products, 
and so on. 

The following trend of the revolution can be traced: (1) 
removal of the old government in the centre; (2) seizure 
of power by the bourgeoisie in view of the proletariat's 
unpreparedness for tackling colossal tasks of nation-wide 
importance; (3) development of the revolution locally; (4) 
in local areas and particularly in the proletarian centres — 
communes and development of revolutionary energy of the 
masses; (5) the land — seizure of it, etc.; (6) factories; control 
over them; (7) undivided power; (8) local, municipal revo- 
lution going forward; (9) bureaucratisation, submission to 
the bourgeoisie in the centre. 

Conclusions: (a) 1: build-up in the centre (build-up of 
forces for a new revolution); ([3) 2: advance the revolution 
(power? land? factories?) in the local areas; (y) 3: communes 
locally, i.e. (act) complete local autonomy; self-established; 
((3(3) without police, without government officials, full 
power by armed worker and peasant masses; (8) 4: combat 
bureaucratising and bourgeois-placating influence of the 
petty-bourgeois elements; (s) 5: gather local experience for 
prodding the centre: local areas become a model. 

(a) 6: bring home to the mass of workers, peasants, and 
soldiers that the reason for the revolution's success locally 
is undivided power and the dictatorship of the proletariat. 

(?]) 7: in the centre, of course, it is more difficult, takes 
more time. 

+ (i) 8: development of the revolution by way of com- 
munes formed out of suburbs and blocks in the large cities.... 

(%) 9: transformation (in the capital cities, etc.) into "ser- 
vants of the bourgeoisie". 

Written April 25-26 
(May 8-9), 1917 

First published in 1925 
Lenin Miscellany IV 



Published according 
to the manuscript 



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257 



8 

SPEECH IN FAVOUR OF THE RESOLUTION ON THE WAR 
APRIL 27 (MAY 10) 

Comrades, the original draft resolution on the war was 
read by me at the City Conference. Because of the crisis 
that absorbed the attention and energy of all our comrades 
in Petrograd, we were unable to amend the draft. Since 
yesterday, however, the committee working on it has made 
satisfactory progress: the draft has been changed, consider- 
ably shortened and, in our opinion, improved. 

I wish to say a few words about the construction of this 
resolution. It consists of three parts. The first is devoted to 
a class analysis of the war; it also contains our statement of 
principles explaining why our Party warns against placing 
any trust in promises made by the Provisional Government, 
as well as against any support for that government. The 
second part of the resolution deals with the question of revo- 
lutionary defencism as an extremely broad mass movement 
which has now united against us the overwhelming majority 
of the nation. Our task is to define the class significance of 
this revolutionary defencism, its essence, and the real balance 
of forces, and find a way to fight this trend. The third part 
of the resolution deals with the question of how to end the 
war. This practical question, which is of supreme importance 
to our Party, required a detailed answer. We think that we 
have succeeded in meeting this requirement satisfactorily. 
The articles in Pravda and numerous articles on the war pub- 
lished in provincial newspapers (the latter reach us very 
irregularly) because the postal service is disorganised, and 
we have to take every convenient opportunity of getting 
them for the Central Committee) reveal a negative attitude 



258 



V. I. LENIN 



towards the war and the loan. I think that the vote against 
the loan settled the question as to our opposition to revolu- 
tionary defencism. I do not think it is possible to go into 
greater detail on this. 

"The present war is, on the part of both groups of the 
belligerent powers, an imperialist war, i.e., one waged by 
the capitalists for the division of the profits obtained from 
world domination; for markets for finance (banking) capital, 
for the subjugation of the weaker nationalities, etc." 

The primary and basic issue is the meaning of the war, a 
question of a general and political character, a moot question 
which the capitalists and the social-chauvinists carefully 
evade. This is why we must put this question first, with 
this addition to it: 

"Each day of war enriches the financial and industrial 
bourgeoisie and impoverishes and saps the strength of the 
proletariat and the peasantry of all the belligerents, as well 
as of the neutral countries. In Russia, moreover, prolonga- 
tion of the war involves a grave danger to the revolution's 
gains and its further development. 

"The passing of state power in Russia to the Provisional 
Government, a government of the landowners and capital- 
ists, did not and could not alter the character and meaning 
of the war as far as Russia is concerned." 

The words I have just read to you are of great importance 
in all our propaganda and agitation. Has the class character 
of the war changed now? Can it change? Our reply is based 
on the fact that power has passed to the landowners and capi- 
talists, the same government that had engineered this war. 
We then pass on to one of the facts that reveal most clearly 
the character of the war. Class character as expressed by the 
entire policy carried on for decades by definite classes is 
one thing, the obvious class character of the war is 
another. 

"This fact was most strikingly demonstrated when the 
new government not only failed to publish the secret treaties 
between Tsar Nicholas II and the capitalist governments of 
Britain, France, etc., but even formally and without con- 
sulting the nation confirmed these secret treaties, which 
promise the Russian capitalists a free hand to rob China, 
Persia, Turkey, Austria, etc. By concealing these treaties 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



259 



from the people of Russia the latter are being deceived as 
to the true character of the war." 

And so, I emphasise again, we are pointing out one partic- 
ularly striking confirmation of the character of the war. 
Even if there were no treaties at all, the character of the war 
would be the same because groups of capitalists can very 
often come to an agreement without any treaties. But the 
treaties exist and their implications are apparent. For the 
purpose of co-ordinating the work of our agitators and propa- 
gandists, we think this fact should be especially emphasised, 
and so we have made a special point of it. The people's 
attention is and should be called to this fact, all the more 
so as the treaties were concluded by the tsar, who has been 
overthrown. The people ought to be made aware that the 
present governments are carrying on the war on the basis 
of treaties concluded between the old governments. This, 
I feel, makes the contradictions between the capitalist inter- 
ests and the will of the people stand out most strikingly, 
and it is for the propagandists to expose these contradictions, 
to draw the people's attention to them, to strive to explain 
them to the masses by appealing to their class-consciousness. 
The contents of these treaties leave no room for doubt that 
they promise enormous profits to the capitalists to be derived 
from robbing other countries. That is why they are always 
kept secret. There is not a republic in the world whose 
foreign policy is conducted in the open. It is fatuous, while 
the capitalist system exists, to expect the capitalists to open 
up their ledgers. While there is private ownership of the 
means of production, there is bound to be private owner- 
ship of shares and financial operations. The corner-stone of 
contemporary diplomacy is financial operations, which 
amount to robbing and strangling the weak nationalities. 
These, we believe, are the fundamental premises upon which the 
evaluation of the war rests. Proceeding from these premises 
we conclude that: "For this reason, no proletarian party 
that does not wish to break completely with internation- 
alism, i.e., with the fraternal solidarity of the workers of all 
countries in their struggle against the yoke of capital, can 
support the present war, or the present government, or its 
loans." 

This is our chief and basic conclusion. It determines 



260 



V. I. LENIN 



our whole tactics and sets us apart from all the other par- 
ties, no matter how socialistic they claim to be. This propo- 
sition, which is irrefutable to all of us, predetermines our 
attitude towards all the other political parties. 

The next point concerns the wide use which our government 
is making of promises. These promises are the object of a 
prolonged campaign by the Soviets, which have become 
muddled by these promises, and which are trying the people's 
patience. We, therefore, consider it necessary to add to our 
purely objective analysis of the class relations an analysis 
of those promises, promises which in themselves have, of 
course, no significance to a Marxist, but which mean a great 
deal to the people, and mean even more in politics. The Pet- 
rograd Soviet has become muddled by these promises, has 
given weight to them by promising its support. This is the 
reason why we add the following statement to this point: 

"No trust can be placed in the present government's 
promises to renounce annexations, i.e., conquests of foreign 
countries or retention by force of any nationality within 
the confines of Russia." 

"Annexation" being a foreign word, we give it an exact 
political definition, such as neither the Cadets nor the 
petty-bourgeois democratic parties (the Narodniks and Men- 
sheviks) can give. Few words have been used so meaning- 
lessly and slovenly. 

"For, in the first place, the capitalists, bound together by 
the thousand threads of banking capital, cannot renounce 
annexations in this war without renouncing the profits from 
the thousands of millions invested in loans, concessions, 
war industries, etc. And secondly, the new government, 
after renouncing annexations to mislead the people, declared 
through Milyukov (Moscow, April 9, 1917) that it had no 
intention of renouncing them, and, in the Note of April 18 
and its elucidation of April 22, confirmed the expansionist 
character of its policy. 

"Therefore, in warning the people against the capitalists' 
empty promises, the Conference declares that it is necessary 
to make a clear distinction between a renunciation of annex- 
ations in word and a renunciation of annexations in deed, 
i.e., the immediate publication and abrogation of all the 
secret, predatory treaties and the immediate granting to 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



261 



all nationalities of the right to determine by free voting 
whether they wish to be independent states or to be part of 
another state." 

We have found it necessary to mention this, because the 
question of peace without annexations is the basic issue 
in all these discussions of peace terms. All parties recognise 
that peace will become the alternative, and that peace with 
annexations will be an unheard-of catastrophe for all coun- 
tries. In a country where there is political liberty, the ques- 
tion of peace cannot be placed before the people otherwise 
than in terms of peace without annexations. It is therefore 
necessary to declare for peace without annexations, and so 
the only thing to do is to lie by wrapping up the meaning 
of annexations or evading the question altogether. Rech, 
for instance, cries that the return of Kurland means renun- 
ciation of annexations. When I was addressing the Soviet 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, a soldier handed me a 
slip of paper with the following question: "We have to fight 
to win back Kurland. Does winning back Kurland mean 
that you stand for annexations?" I had to reply in the af- 
firmative. We are against Germany annexing Kurland, but 
we are also against Russia holding Kurland by force. For 
example, our government has issued a manifesto proclaiming 
the independence of Poland. This manifesto, chock-full of 
meaningless phrases, states that Poland must form a free 
military alliance with Russia. These three words contain 
the whole truth. A free military alliance of little Poland 
with huge Russia is, in point of fact, complete military 
subjection of Poland. Poland may be granted political free- 
dom but her boundaries will be determined by the military 
alliance. 

If we fight for the Russian capitalists keeping possession of 
the former annexed territories of Kurland and Poland, then 
the German capitalists have the right to rob Kurland. They 
may argue this way: we looted Poland together. At the end of 
the eighteenth century, when we began to tear Poland to 
pieces, Prussia was a very small and weak country while Russia 
was a giant, and therefore she grabbed more. Now we have 
grown and it is our intention, if you please, to snatch a larger 
share. You can say nothing against this capitalist logic. 
In 1863 Japan was a mere nothing in comparison with Russia, 



262 



V. I. LENIN 



but in 1905 Japan thrashed Russia. From 1863 to 1873 
Germany was a mere nothing in comparison with Britain, 
but now Germany is stronger than Britain. The Germans may 
argue: we were weak when Kurland was taken from us, but 
we have now grown stronger than you, and we wish to take 
it back. Not to renounce annexations means to justify 
endless wars over the conquest of weaker nationalities. To 
renounce annexations means to let each nation determine 
freely whether it wants to live separately or together with 
others. Of course, for this purpose, armies must be with- 
drawn. To show the slightest hesitation on the question of 
annexations means to justify endless wars. It follows that 
we could allow no hesitation on this question. With regard 
to annexations, our answer is that nations must be free to 
make their own decisions. How can we secure economic 
freedom alongside this political freedom? To accomplish 
this, power must pass into the hands of the proletariat and 
the yoke of capital must be overthrown. 

I now pass on to the second part of the resolution. 

"The 'revolutionary defencism', which in Russia has now 
permeated all the Narodnik parties (the Popular Socialists, 
Trudoviks, and Socialist-Revolutionaries), the opportunist 
party of the Menshevik Social-Democrats (the Organising 
Committee, Chkheidze, Tsereteli, etc.), and the majority 
of the non-party revolutionaries, reflects, in point of class 
significance, the interests and point of view of the well-to-do 
peasants and a part of the small proprietors, who, like the 
capitalists, profit by oppressing weak peoples. On the other 
hand, revolutionary defencism is a result of the deception 
by the capitalists of a part of the urban and rural proletariat 
and semi-proletariat, who, by their class position, have no 
interest in the profits of the capitalists and in the impe- 
rialist war." 

Consequently, our task here is to determine from what 
sections of society this defencist tendency could emerge. 
Russia is the most petty-bourgeois country in the world, 
and the upper sections of the petty bourgeoisie are directly 
interested in continuing the war. The well-to-do peasants, 
like the capitalists, are profiting by the war. On the other 
hand, the mass of proletarians and semi-proletarians have 
no interest in annexations because they make no profit on 



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263 



banking capital. How, then, have these classes come to adopt 
the position of revolutionary defencism? Their attitude 
towards revolutionary defencism is due to the influence of 
capitalist ideology, which the resolution designates by the 
word "deception". They are unable to differentiate between 
the interests of the capitalists and the interests of the coun- 
try. Hence we conclude: 

"The Conference recognises that any concessions to revolu- 
tionary defencism are absolutely impermissible and virtually 
signify a complete break with internationalism and social- 
ism. As for the defencist tendencies among the broad masses, 
our Party will fight against these tendencies by ceaselessly 
explaining the truth that the attitude of unreasoning trust 
in the government of the capitalists, at the moment, is one 
of the chief obstacles to a speedy termination of the war." 

The last words express the specific feature that sharply 
distinguishes Russia from the other Western capitalist coun- 
tries and from all capitalist democratic republics. For it 
cannot be said of those countries that the trustfulness of the 
unenlightened masses there is the chief cause of the prolon- 
gation of the war. The masses there are now in the iron grip 
of military discipline. The more democratic the republic, 
the stronger discipline is, since law in a republic rests on 
"the will of the people". Owing to the revolution there is no 
such discipline in Russia. The masses freely elect represent- 
atives to the Soviets, which is something that does not exist 
now anywhere else in the world. But the masses have unreas- 
oning trust, and are therefore used for the purposes of the 
struggle. So far we can do nothing but explain. Our explana- 
tions must deal with the immediate revolutionary tasks and 
methods of action. When the masses are free, any attempts 
to act in the name of a minority, without explaining things 
to the masses, would be senseless Blanquism, mere adven- 
turism. Only by winning over the masses, if they can be 
won, can we lay a solid foundation for the victory of the 
proletarian class struggle. 

I now pass on to the third part of the resolution: 

"In regard to the most important question of all, namely, 
how to end the present capitalist war as soon as possible, 
not by a coercive peace, but by a truly democratic peace, 
the Conference recognises and declares the following: 



264 



V. I. LENIN 



"This war cannot be ended by a refusal of the soldiers of 
one side only to continue the war, by a simple cessation of 
hostilities by one of the belligerents." 

The idea of terminating the war in this way has been at- 
tributed to us over and over again by persons who wish to 
win an easy victory over their opponents by distorting the 
latter's views — a typical method used by the capitalists, who 
ascribe to us the absurd idea of wishing to end the war by 
a one-sided refusal to fight. They say "the war cannot be 
ended by sticking your bayonet in the ground", to quote 
a soldier, a typical revolutionary defencist. This is no argu- 
ment, I say. The idea that the war can be terminated with- 
out changing the classes in power is an anarchist idea. 
Either this idea is anarchistic, in which case it has no mean- 
ing, no state significance, or it is a hazy pacifist idea that 
fails completely to appreciate the connection between poli- 
tics and the oppressing class. War is an evil, peace is a 

blessing Certainly this idea must be made clear to the 

people, must be popularised. Incidentally, all our reso- 
lutions are being written for leading Party members, for 
Marxists, and do not make reading matter for the masses. 
But they must serve as unifying and guiding political prin- 
ciples for every propagandist and agitator. To meet this 
requirement, one more paragraph was added to the resolu- 
tion: 

"The Conference reiterates its protest against the base 
slander spread by the capitalists against our Party to the 
effect that we are in favour of a separate peace with Germany. 
We consider the German capitalists to be as predatory as 
the Russian, British, French, and other capitalists, and 
Emperor Wilhelm as bad a crowned brigand as Nicholas II 
or the British, Italian, Rumanian, and all other monarchs." 

On this point there was some disagreement in the commit- 
tee, some maintaining that in this passage our language 
became too popular, others, that the British, Italian, and 
Rumanian monarchs did not deserve the honour of being men- 
tioned. After a detailed discussion, however, we all agreed 
that, since our present aim is to refute all the slanders which 
Birzhevka* has tried to spread against us rather crudely, 



See Note No. 80.— Ed. 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



265 



Rech more subtly, Yedinstvo by direct implication, we must, 
on a question of this nature, come out with a most sharp and 
trenchant criticism of these ideas, having in mind the broad- 
est masses of the people. Asked why we do not help to over- 
throw Wilhelm if we consider him a brigand, we can say that 
the others, too, are brigands, that we ought to fight against 
them as well, that one must not forget the kings of Italy and 
Rumania, that brigands can also be found among our Allies. 
These two paragraphs are intended to combat the slander, 
which is meant to lead to riot-mongering and squabbling. 
This is the reason why we must now pass on to the serious 
practical question of how to terminate the war. 

"Our Party will patiently but persistently explain to 
the people the truth that wars are waged by governments, 
that wars are always indissolubly bound up with the policies 
of definite classes, that this war can be terminated by a 
democratic peace only if the entire state power, in at least 
several of the belligerent countries, has passed to the class 
of the proletarians and semi-proletarians which is really 
capable of putting an end to the oppressive rule of capital." 

To a Marxist these truths — that wars are waged by the 
capitalists and are bound up with the capitalists' class 
interests — are absolute truths. A Marxist need not dwell on 
that. But as far as the masses are concerned, skilful agitators 
and propagandists should be able to explain this truth simply, 
without using foreign words, for with us discussions usually 
degenerate into empty and futile squabbling. The explaining 
of this truth is what we have been trying to do in every part 
of the resolution. We say that in order to understand what 
the war is about, you must ask who gains by it; in order to 
understand how to put an end to the war, you must ask which 
classes do not gain by it. The connection here is clear, hence 
we conclude: 

"In Russia, the revolutionary class, having taken state 
power, would adopt a series of measures that would lead to 
the destruction of the economic rule of the capitalists, 
as well as measures that would render them completely 
harmless politically, and would immediately and frankly 
offer to all nations a democratic peace on the basis of 
a complete renunciation of every possible form of 
annexation." 



266 



V. I. LENIN 



Once we speak in the name of the revolutionary class, the 
people have the right to ask: and what about you, what 
would you do in their place to end the war? This is an inevi- 
table question. The people are electing us now as their rep- 
resentatives, and we must give a very precise answer. The 
revolutionary class, having taken power, would set out to 
undermine the rule of the capitalists, and would then offer 
to all nations well-defined peace terms, because, unless the 
economic rule of the capitalists is undermined, all we can 
have are scraps of paper. Only a victorious class can accom- 
plish this, can bring about a change in policy. 

I repeat: to bring this truth home to the uneducated mass, 
we need intermediate links that would help to introduce 
this question to them. The mistake and falsehood of popular 
literature on the war is the evasion of this question; it ignores 
this question and presents the matter as if there had been 
no class struggle, as if two countries had lived amicably until 
one attacked the other, and the attacked has been defending 
itself. This is vulgar reasoning in which there is not a shadow 
of objective truth, and which is a deliberate deception of 
the people by educated persons. If we approach this question 
properly, anyone would be able to grasp the essential point; 
for the interests of the ruling classes are one thing, and the 
interests of the oppressed classes are another. 

What would happen if the revolutionary class took power? 

"Such measures and such a frank offer of peace would 
bring about complete confidence of the workers of the bellig- 
erent countries in each other...." 

Such confidence is impossible now, and the words of mani- 
festos will not create it. Where the philosopher once said that 
speech has been given to man to enable him to conceal his 
thoughts, the diplomats always say: "Conferences are held 
to deceive the people." Not only the capitalists, but the 
socialists too reason this way. This particularly applies to 
the conference which Borgbjerg is calling. 

"...and would inevitably lead to uprisings of the prole- 
tariat against those imperialist governments as might resist 
the offered peace." 

Nobody now believes the capitalist government when it 
says: "We are for peace without annexations." The masses 
have the instinct of oppressed classes which tells them that 



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nothing has changed. Only if the policy were actually changed 
in one country, confidence would appear and attempts 
at uprisings would be made. We speak of "uprisings" because 
we are now discussing all countries. To say "a revolution 
has taken place in one country, so now it must take place 
in Germany" — is false reasoning. There is a tendency to form 
an order of sequence, but this cannot be done. We all went 
through the revolution of 1905. We all heard or witnessed 
how that revolution gave birth to revolutionary ideas through- 
out the world, a fact which Marx constantly referred to. 
Revolutions cannot be made, they cannot be taken in turns. 
A revolution cannot be made to order — it develops. This form 
of charlatanism is now frequently being practised in Russia. 
The people are told: You in Russia have made a revolution, 
now it is the Germans' turn. If the objective conditions 
change, then an uprising is inevitable, but we do not know 
whose turn it will be, when it will take place, and with 
what degree of success. We are asked: If the revolutionary 
class takes power in Russia, and if no uprisings break out in 
other countries, what will the revolutionary party do? What 
will happen then? This question is answered in the last 
paragraph of our resolution. 

"Until the revolutionary class in Russia takes the entire 
state power, our Party will do all it can to support those 
proletarian parties and groups abroad that are in fact, already 
during the war, conducting a revolutionary struggle against 
their imperialist governments and their bourgeoisie." 

This is all that we can promise and must do now. The 
revolution is mounting in every country, but no one knows to 
what extent it is mounting and when it will break out. In 
every country there are people who are carrying on a revolu- 
tionary struggle against their governments. They are the 
people, the only people, we must support. This is the real 
thing — all else is falsehood. And so we add: 

"Our Party will particularly support the mass frater- 
nisation of the soldiers of all the belligerent countries 
that has already begun at the front...." 

This is to meet Plekhanov's argument: "What will come 
of it? Suppose you do fraternise, then what? Does this not 
suggest the possibility of a separate peace at the front?" 
This is jiggery-pokery, not a serious argument. We want 



268 



V. I. LENIN 



fraternisation on all fronts, and we are taking pains to encour- 
age it. When we worked in Switzerland, we published an 
appeal in two languages, with French on one side and German 
on the other, urging those soldiers to do the same thing 
we are now urging the Russian soldiers to do. We do not 
confine ourselves to fraternisation between German and 
Russian soldiers, we call upon all to fraternise. This, then, 
is what we mean by fraternisation: 

"...endeavouring to turn this instinctive expression of 
solidarity of the oppressed into a politically-conscious 
movement as well organised as possible for the transfer of 
all state power in all the belligerent countries to the revolu- 
tionary proletariat." 

Fraternisation, so far, is instinctive, and we must not de- 
ceive ourselves on this score. We must admit this in order 
not to delude the people. The fraternising soldiers are actuat- 
ed not by a clear-cut political idea but by the instinct of 
oppressed people, who are tired, exhausted and begin to lose 
confidence in capitalist promises. They say: "While you 
keep on talking about peace — we have been hearing it now 
for two and a half years — we shall start things moving 
ourselves." This is a true class instinct. Without this instinct 
the cause of the revolution would be hopeless. As you know, 
nobody would free the workers if they did not free themselves. 
But is instinct alone sufficient? You would not get far if 
you rely on instinct alone. This instinct must be transformed 
into political awareness. 

In our "Appeal to the Soldiers of All the Belligerent 
Countries" we explain into what this fraternisation should 
develop — into the passing of political power to the Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.* Naturally, the German 
workers will call their Soviets by a different name, but this 
does not matter. The point is that we undoubtedly recognise 
as correct that fraternisation is instinctive, that we do not 
simply confine ourselves to encouraging fraternisation, but 
set ourselves the task of turning this instinctive fraternisa- 
tion of workers and peasants in soldiers' uniforms into a 
politically-conscious movement, whose aim is the transfer 



See p. 188 of this volume.— Ed. 



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of power in all the belligerent countries into the hands of 
the revolutionary proletariat. This is a very difficult task, 
but the position in which humanity finds itself under capi- 
talist rule is tremendously difficult, too, and leads to destruc- 
tion. This is why it will call forth that explosion of 
discontent which is the guarantee of proletarian revolu- 
tion. 

This is our resolution, which we submit for consideration 
to the Conference. 



A brief report published 
May 12 (April 29), 1917 
in Pravda No. 44 

First published in full Published according 

in 1921 in N. Lenin to the typewritten copy 

(V. Ulyanov), Works, of the Minutes 

Vol. XIV, Part 2 



270 



V. I. LENIN 



9 

RESOLUTION ON THE WAE 
I 

The present war is, on the part of both groups of the bel- 
ligerent powers, an imperialist war, i.e., one waged by the 
capitalists for the division of the profits obtained from world 
domination, for markets for finance (banking) capital, for 
the subjugation of the weaker nationalities, etc. Each day 
of war enriches the financial and industrial bourgeoisie and 
impoverishes and saps the strength of the proletariat and 
the peasantry of all the belligerents, as well as of the neutral 
countries. In Russia, moreover, prolongation of the war 
involves a grave danger to the revolution's gains and its 
further development. 

The passing of state power in Russia to the Provisional 
Government, a government of the landowners and capital- 
ists, did not and could not alter the character and meaning 
of the war as far as Russia is concerned. 

This fact was most strikingly demonstrated when the new 
government not only failed to publish the secret treaties 
between Tsar Nicholas II and the capitalist governments 
of Britain, France, etc., but even formally and without con- 
sulting the nation confirmed these secret treaties, which 
promise the Russian capitalists a free hand to rob China, 
Persia, Turkey, Austria, etc. By concealing these treaties 
from the people of Russia the latter are being deceived 
as to the true character of the war. 

For this reason, no proletarian party that does not wish 
to break completely with internationalism, i.e., with the 



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fraternal solidarity of the workers of all countries in their 
struggle against the yoke of capital, can support the present 
war, or the present government, or its loans. 

No trust can be placed in the present government's prom- 
ises to renounce annexations, i.e., conquests of foreign 
countries or retention by force of any nationality within 
the confines of Russia. For, in the first place, the capital- 
ists, bound together by the thousand threads of banking 
capital, cannot renounce annexations in this war without 
renouncing the profits from the thousands of millions invest- 
ed in loans, concessions, war industries, etc. And secondly, 
the new government, after renouncing annexations to 
mislead the people, declared through Milyukov (Moscow, 
April 9, 1917) that it had no intention of renouncing them, 
and, in the Note of April 18 and its elucidation of April 22, 
confirmed the expansionist character of its policy. Therefore, 
in warning the people against the capitalists' empty prom- 
ises, the Conference declares that it is necessary to make a 
clear distinction between a renunciation of annexations 
in word and a renunciation of annexations in deed, i.e., the 
immediate publication and abrogation of all the secret, 
predatory treaties and the immediate granting to all nation- 
alities of the right to determine by free voting whether they 
wish to be independent states or to be part of another state. 

II 

The "revolutionary defencism", which in Russia has now 
permeated all the Narodnik parties (the Popular Socialists, 
Trudoviks, and Socialist-Revolutionaries), the opportunist 
party of the Menshevik Social-Democrats (the Organising 
Committee, Chkheidze, Tsereteli, etc.), and the majority 
of the non-party revolutionaries, reflects, in point of class 
significance, the interests and point of view of the well-to- 
do peasants and a part of the small proprietors, who, like 
the capitalists, profit by oppressing weak peoples. On the 
other hand, "revolutionary defencism" is a result of the de- 
ception by the capitalists of a part of the urban and rural 
proletariat and semi-proletariat, who, by their class posi- 
tion, have no interest in the profits of the capitalists and in 
the imperialist war. 



272 



V. I. LENIN 



The Conference recognises that any concessions to "revolu- 
tionary defencism" are absolutely impermissible and vir- 
tually signify a complete break with internationalism and 
socialism. As for the defencist tendencies among the broad 
masses, our Party will fight against these tendencies by 
ceaselessly explaining the truth that the attitude of unreas- 
oning trust in the government of the capitalists, at the 
moment, is one of the chief obstacles to a speedy termination 
of the war. 

Ill 

In regard to the most important question of all, namely, 
how to end the present capitalist war as soon as possible, 
not by a coercive peace, but by a truly democratic peace, 
the Conference recognises and declares the following: 

This war cannot be ended by a refusal of the soldiers of 
one side only to continue the war, by a simple cessation of 
hostilities by one of the belligerents. 

The Conference reiterates its protest against the base 
slander spread by the capitalists against our Party to the 
effect that we are in favour of a separate peace with Germany. 
We consider the German capitalists to be as predatory as 
the Russian, British, French, and other capitalists, and 
Emperor Wilhelm as bad a crowned brigand as Nicholas II 
or the British, Italian, Rumanian, and all other monarchs. 

Our Party will patiently but persistently explain to the 
people the truth that wars are waged by governments, that 
wars are always indissolubly bound up with the policies 
of definite classes, that this war can be terminated by a 
democratic peace only if the entire state power, in at least 
several of the belligerent countries, has passed to the class 
of the proletarians and semi-proletarians which is really 
capable of putting an end to the oppressive rule of capital. 

In Russia, the revolutionary class, having taken state 
power, would adopt a series of measures that would undermine 
the economic rule of the capitalists, as well as measures 
that would render them completely harmless politically, 
and would immediately and frankly offer to all nations a 
democratic peace on the basis of a complete renunciation 
of every possible form of annexation and indemnity. Such 



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measures and such a frank offer of peace would bring about 
complete confidence of the workers of the belligerent coun- 
tries in each other and would inevitably lead to uprisings of 
the proletariat against those imperialist governments as 
might resist the offered peace. 

Until the revolutionary class in Russia takes the entire 
state power, our Party will do all it can to support those 
proletarian parties and groups abroad that are in fact, 
already during the war, conducting a revolutionary struggle 
against their imperialist governments and their bourgeoisie. 
Our Party will particularly support the mass fraternisation 
of the soldiers of all the belligerent countries that has already 
begun at the front, endeavouring to turn this instinctive 
expression of solidarity of the oppressed into a politically- 
conscious movement as well organised as possible for the 
transfer of all state power in all the belligerent countries 
to the revolutionary proletariat. 

Pravda No. 44, Published according 

May 12 (April 29), 1917 to the typewritten copy 

of the Minutes verified with 
the text in Pravda 



274 



V. I. LENIN 



10 

RESOLUTION ON THE ATTITUDE 
TOWARDS THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT 

The All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. recognises 
that: 

1. The Provisional Government, by its class character, 
is the organ of landowner and bourgeois domination; 

2. The Provisional Government and the classes it repre- 
sents are bound with indissoluble economic and political 
ties to Russian and Anglo-French imperialism; 

3. The Provisional Government is carrying out its pro- 
claimed programme only partially, and only under pressure 
of the revolutionary proletariat and, to some extent, of 
the petty bourgeoisie; 

4. The forces of bourgeois and landowner counter-revolu- 
tion, now being organised, have already, under cover of the 
Provisional Government and with the latter's obvious con- 
nivance, launched an attack on revolutionary democracy: 
thus the Provisional Government is avoiding fixing the date 
for the elections to the Constituent Assembly, preventing 
the arming of the people as a whole, opposing the transfer 
of all the land to the people, foisting upon it the land- 
owners' way of settling the agrarian question, obstructing the 
introduction of an eight-hour workday, condoning counter- 
revolutionary propaganda in the army (by Guchkov and 
Co.), rallying the high-ranking officers against the soldiers, 
etc.; 

5. The Provisional Government, protecting the profits of 
the capitalists and landowners, is incapable of taking a num- 
ber of revolutionary economic measures (food supply, etc.) 



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which are absolutely and urgently necessary in view of the 
impending economic catastrophe; 

6. This government, at the same time, is relying at present 
on the confidence of, and on an actual agreement with, the 
Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, which 
is still the leading organisation for the majority of workers 
and soldiers, i.e., peasants; 

7. Every step of the Provisional Government, in both its 
domestic and foreign policies, is bound to open the eyes of 
the urban and rural proletarians and semi-proletarians 
and force various sections of the petty bourgeoisie to choose 
between one and the other political line. 
Considering the above, the Conference resolves that: 

1. Extensive work has to be done to develop proletarian 
class-consciousness and to unite the urban and rural prole- 
tarians against the vacillations of the petty bourgeoisie, 
for only work of this nature can serve as a sure guarantee of 
the successful transfer of the entire state power into the 
hands of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies or 
other organs directly expressing the will of the majority 
of the people (organs of local self-government, the Constit- 
uent Assembly, etc.); 

2. This calls for many-sided activity within the Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, for work aimed at increas- 
ing the number of these Soviets, consolidating their power, 
and welding together our Party's proletarian international- 
ist groups in the Soviets; 

3. In order immediately to consolidate and widen the gains 
of the revolution in the local areas, it is necessary, with the 
backing of a solid majority of the local population, in every 
way to develop, organise, and strengthen its independent 
actions aimed at implementing liberties, dismissing the 
counter-revolutionary authorities, introducing economic meas- 
ures, such as control over production and distribution, etc.; 

4. The political crisis of April 19-21 precipitated by the 
Note of the Provisional Government has shown that the 
government party of the Constitutional-Democrats, which is 
organising counter-revolutionary elements both in the army 
and in the streets, is now making attempts to shoot down the 
workers. In view of the unstable situation arising from the 
dual power, the repetition of such attempts is inevitable, 



276 



V. I. LENIN 



and it is the duty of the party of the proletariat to tell the 
people as forcibly as possible that, in order to avert the 
seriously threatening danger of such mass shootings of the 
proletariat as took place in Paris in the June days of 1848, 
it is necessary to organise and arm the proletariat, to estab- 
lish the closest alliance between the proletariat and the revo- 
lutionary army, to break with the policy of confidence in 
the Provisional Government. 



Pravda No. 42, 
May 10 (April 27), 1917 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



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277 



11 

REPORT ON THE QUESTION 
OF REVISING THE PARTY PROGRAMME 
APRIL 28 (MAY ll) 87 



Comrades, this is how the question of revising the Party 
Programme now stands. The first draft of proposed changes 
in the doctrinal part of our programme and in a number of 
basic points in its political part was submitted to the com- 
mittee. The whole programme must be revised as being ut- 
terly obsolete — a fact that was pointed out in Party circles 
long before the war. It appears, however, that there is not 
the slightest hope for discussing the proposed changes of the 
programme as a whole. On the other hand, the committee 
has come to the unanimous conclusion that a revision of 
the programme is absolutely essential, and that in a number 
of questions it is possible and necessary to indicate the direc- 
tion in which such revision should be made. We have there- 
fore agreed on the following draft resolution which I am 
going to read to you now, making brief comments as I go 
along. We have decided not to put forward precisely for- 
mulated theses at the present time, but merely to indicate 
along what lines this revision should be carried out. 

(Reads the resolution.) 

"The Conference considers it necessary to revise the 
Party Programme along the following lines: 

"1. Evaluating imperialism and the epoch of imperialist 
wars in connection with the approaching socialist revolution; 
fighting against the distortion of Marxism by the 'defenc- 
ists', who have forgotten Marx's slogan — 'The working 
men have no country'." 88 



278 



V. I. LENIN 



This is so clear that it requires no explanation. As a matter 
of fact our Party's policy has advanced considerably and, 
practically speaking, has already taken the stand proposed 
in this formulation. 

"2. Amending the theses and clauses dealing with the 
state; such amendment is to be in the nature of a demand 
for a democratic proletarian-peasant republic (i.e., a type of 
state functioning without police, without a standing army, 
and without a privileged bureaucracy), and not for a bour- 
geois parliamentary republic." 

Other formulations of this point had been proposed. One 
of them mentioned the experience of the Paris Commune and 
the experience of the period between the seventies and the 
eighties, but such a formulation is unsatisfactory and too 
general; another spoke about a republic of Soviets of Work- 
ers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies, but this formulation, 
too, was considered unsatisfactory by most of the comrades. 
A formulation, however, is needed; the point is not what an 
institution is called, but what its political character and 
structure is. By saying "proletarian-peasant republic", we 
indicate its social content and political character. 

"3. Eliminating or amending what is out of date in the 
political programme." 

Practically speaking, our general political activities in 
the Soviets have gone along these lines; therefore, there can 
hardly be room for doubt that the change in this particular 
point of the programme and the precise formulation of our 
estimate of the moment in which the revolution found our 
Party, is not likely to provoke any disagreements. 

"4. Altering a number of points in the political minimum 
programme, so as to state more consistent democratic 
demands with greater precision. 

"5. Completely changing the economic part of the minimum 
programme, which in very many places is out of date, and 
points relating to public education." 

The main thing here is that these points have become out 
of date; the trade union movement has outstripped them. 

"6. Revising the agrarian programme in accordance with 
the adopted resolution on the agrarian question. 

"7. Inserting a demand for nationalisation of a number 
of syndicates, etc., now ripe for such a step." 



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A careful formulation has been chosen here, which can 
be narrowed or widened, depending upon what drafts will 
appear in print. 

"8. Adding an analysis of the main trends in modern 
socialism." 

An addendum like this was made to the Communist 
Manifesto. 

"The Conference instructs the Central Committee to work 
out, within two months, on the basis of the above sugges- 
tions, a draft for the Party Programme which is to be sub- 
mitted for approval to the Party congress. The Conference 
calls upon all organisations and all Party members to con- 
sider drafts of the programme, to correct them, and to work 
out counterdrafts." 

It has been pointed out that it would be desirable to set 
up a scientific body and create a literature dealing with this 
subject, but we have neither the men nor the means for this. 
This is the resolution that should help in the speedy revision 
of our programme. This resolution will be forwarded abroad 
to enable our internationalist comrades to take part in revis- 
ing the programme, which our Party has undertaken on the 
basis of the experience of the world war. 

A brief report published 
May 13 (April 30), 1917 
in Pravda No. 45 



First published in full in 1921 
in N. Lenin (V. Ulyanov), 
Works, Vol. XIV, Part 2 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



280 



V. I. LENIN 



12 

RESOLUTION ON THE QUESTION 
OF REVISING THE PARTY PROGRAMME 

The Conference considers it necessary to revise the Party 
Programme along the following lines: 

1. Evaluating imperialism and the epoch of imperialist 
wars in connection with the approaching socialist revolution; 
fighting against the distortion of Marxism by the "defen- 
cists", who have forgotten Marx's slogan — "The working men 
have no country"; 

2. Amending the theses and clauses dealing with the state; 
such amendment is to be in the nature of a demand for a 
democratic proletarian-peasant republic (i.e., a type of 
state functioning without police, without a standing army, 
and without a privileged bureaucracy), and not for a bour- 
geois parliamentary republic; 

3. Eliminating or amending what is out of date in the 
political programme; 

4. Altering a number of points in the political minimum 
programme, so as to state more consistent democratic 
demands with greater precision; 

5. Completely changing the economic part of the minimum 
programme, which in very many places is out of date, and 
points relating to public education; 

6. Revising the agrarian programme in accordance with 
the adopted resolution on the agrarian question; 

7. Inserting a demand for nationalisation of a number 
of syndicates, etc., now ripe for such a step; 

8. Adding an analysis of the main trends in modern 
socialism. 



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281 



The Conference instructs the Central Committee to work 
out, within two months, on the basis of the above sugges- 
tions, a draft for the Party Programme which is to be submit- 
ted for approval to the Party congress. The Conference calls 
upon all organisations and all Party members to consider 
drafts of the programme, to correct them, and to work out 
counterdrafts. 



Supplement to Soldatskaya Pravda No. 13, 
May 16 (3), 1917 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



282 



V. I. LENIN 



13 

REPORT ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION 
APRIL 28 (MAY 11) 

Comrades, the agrarian question was threshed out so 
thoroughly by our Party during the first revolution that 
by this time, I think, our ideas on the subject are pretty 
well defined. Indirect proof of this is to be found in the fact 
that the committee of the Conference composed of comrades 
interested and fully versed in this subject have agreed on 
the proposed draft resolution without making any substan- 
tial corrections. I shall therefore confine myself to very brief 
remarks. And since all members have proof-sheets of the 
draft, there is no need to read it in full. 

The present growth of the agrarian movement throughout 
Russia is perfectly obvious and undeniable. Our Party 
Programme, proposed by the Mensheviks and adopted by 
the Stockholm Congress in 1906, was refuted even in the 
course of the first Russian revolution. At that Congress the 
Mensheviks succeeded in getting their programme of munici- 
palisation adopted. The essence of their programme was 
as follows: the peasant lands, communal and homestead, 
were to remain the property of the peasants while the landed 
estates were to be taken over by local self-government 
bodies. One of the Mensheviks' chief arguments in favour of 
such a programme was that the peasants would never under- 
stand the transfer of peasant land to anyone but themselves. 
Anyone acquainted with the Minutes of the Stockholm Con- 
gress will recollect that this argument was particularly 
stressed both by Maslov, who made the report, and by Kost- 
rov. We should not forget, as is often done nowadays, that this 
happened before the First Duma, when there was no objec- 



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tive information about the character of the peasant movement 
and its strength. Everyone knew that Russia was aflame with 
the agrarian revolution, but no one knew how the agrarian 
movement would be organised, or in what direction the 
peasant revolution would develop. It was impossible to check 
whether the opinions expressed by the Congress were the 
real and practical views held by the peasants themselves. 
This was why the Mensheviks' argument had carried such 
weight. Soon after the Stockholm Congress, we received 
the first serious indication of how the peasants viewed this 
question. In both the First and the Second Dumas, the 
peasants themselves put forward the Trudovik "Bill of the 
104". 89 I made a special study of the signatures to this 
bill, carefully studied the views of the various deputies, 
their class affiliations, and the extent to which they may be 
called peasants. I stated categorically in my book, which 
was burned by the tsarist censor but which I will repub- 
lish, 90 that the overwhelming majority of these 104 signato- 
ries were peasants. That bill called for the nationalisation 
of the land. The peasants said that the entire land would 
become the property of the state. 

How, then, are we to account for the fact that in both 
Dumas the deputies representing the peasants of all Russia 
preferred nationalisation to the measure proposed in both 
Dumas by the Mensheviks from the point of view of the peas- 
ants' interests? The Mensheviks proposed that the peasants 
retain the ownership of their own lands, and that only the 
landed estates should be given to the people; the peasants, 
however, maintained that the entire land should be given to 
the people. How are we to account for this? The Socialist- 
Revolutionaries say that owing to their commune organi- 
sation the Russian peasants favour socialisation, the labour 
principle. All this phraseology is absolutely devoid of com- 
mon sense, it is nothing but words. But how are we to account 
for this? I think the peasants came to this conclusion 
because all landownership in Russia, both peasants' and 
landowners', communal and homestead, is permeated with 
old, semi-feudal relationships, and the peasants, consider- 
ing market conditions, had to demand the transfer of the 
land to all the people. The peasants say that the tangle of old 
agrarian life can only be unraveled by nationalisation. 



284 



V. I. LENIN 



Their point of view is bourgeois; by equalitarian land tenure 
they mean the confiscation of the landed estates, but not the 
equalisation of individual proprietors. By nationalisation 
they mean an actual reallotment of all the land among the 
peasants. This is a grand bourgeois project. No peasant spoke 
about equalisation or socialisation; but they all said it was 
impossible to wait any longer, that all the land had to be 
cleared, in other words, that farming could not be carried 
on in the old way under twentieth-century conditions. The 
Stolypin Reform 91 has since then confused the land question 
still more. That is what the peasants have in mind when they 
demand nationalisation. It means a reallotment of all the 
land. There are to be no varied forms of landownership. There 
is not the slightest suggestion of socialisation. This demand 
by the peasants is called equalitarian because, as a brief 
summary of the statistics relating to land holdings in 1905 
shows, 300 peasant families held as much land (2,000 dessia- 
tines) as one landowner's family. In this sense it is, of course, 
equalitarian, but it does not imply that all small farms 
are to be equalised. The Bill of the 104 shows the opposite. 

These are the essential points that have to be made in 
order to give scientific support to the view that nationalisa- 
tion in Russia, as far as bourgeois democracy is concerned, 
is necessary. But it is also necessary for another reason — it 
deals a mighty blow at private ownership of the means of 
production. It is simply absurd to imagine that after the 
abolition of private property in land everything in Russia 
will remain as before. 

Then follow some practical conclusions and demands. 
Of the minor amendments in the draft I shall call attention 
to the following. The first point reads: "The party of the pro- 
letariat will support with all its might the immediate and 

complete confiscation of all landed estates " Instead 

of "will support" we ought to say "will fight for" Our 

point of view is not that the peasants have not enough land 
and that they need more. That is the current opinion. We 
say that the landed estates are the basis of oppression that 
crushes the peasants and keeps them backward. The question 
is not whether the peasants have or have not enough land. 
Down with serfdom! — this is the way the issue should be 
stated from the point of view of the revolutionary class 



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struggle, and not from the point of view of those officials 
who try to figure out how much land they have and by what 
norms it should be allotted. I suggest that the order of 
points 2 and 3 should be reversed, because, to us, the thing 
that matters is revolutionary initiative, and the law must be 
the result of it. If you wait until the law is written, and your- 
selves do not develop revolutionary initiative, you will have 
neither the law nor the land. 

People very often object to nationalisation because, they 
say, it requires a colossal bureaucratic apparatus. That is 
true, but state landownership implies that every peasant 
is leasing the land from the state. The subletting of lease- 
holds is prohibited. But the question of how much and what 
kind of land the peasant shall lease must be entirely settled 
by the proper democratic, not bureaucratic, organ of 
authority. 

For "farm-hands" we substitute "agricultural labourers". 
Several comrades declared that the word "farm-hand" was 
offensive; objections were raised to this word. It should be 
deleted. 

We should not speak now of proletarian-peasant committees 
or Soviets in connection with the settlement of the land 
question, for, as we see, the peasants have set up Soviets of 
Soldiers' Deputies, thus creating a division between the pro- 
letariat and the peasantry. 

The petty-bourgeois defencist parties, as we know, stand 
for the land question being put off until the Constituent 
Assembly meets. We are for the immediate transfer of the 
land to the peasants in a highly organised manner. We are 
emphatically against anarchic seizing of land. You propose 
that the peasants enter into agreements with the landowners. 
We say that the land should be taken over and cultivated 
right now if we wish to avert famine, to save the country 
from the debacle which is advancing upon it with incredible 
speed. One cannot now accept the prescriptions offered by 
Shingaryov and the Cadets, who suggest waiting for the 
convocation of the Constituent Assembly, the date of which 
has not been fixed yet, or making arrangements with the 
landowners for renting land. The peasants are already 
seizing the land without paying for it, or paying only a quar- 
ter of the rent. 



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One comrade has brought a local resolution, from Penza 
Gubernia, saying that the peasants are seizing the land- 
owners' agricultural implements, which however they do not 
divide among the households, but convert into common prop- 
erty. They are establishing a definite order of sequence, a 
rule, for using these implements to cultivate all the land. 
In resorting to such measures, they are guided by the desire 
to increase agricultural production. This is a matter of prin- 
ciple of tremendous significance, for all that the landowners 
and capitalists shout about it being anarchy. But if you are 
going to chatter and shout about this being anarchy, while 
the peasants sit back and wait, then you will indeed have 
anarchy. The peasants have shown that they understand 
farming conditions and social control better than the 
government officials, and apply such control a hundred times 
more efficiently. Such a measure, which is doubtless quite 
practicable in a small village, inevitably leads to more sweep- 
ing measures. When the peasant comes to learn this — and 
he has already begun to learn it — the knowledge of bourgeois 
professors will not be needed; he will himself come to the 
conclusion that it is essential to utilise the agricultural im- 
plements, not only in the small farms, but for the cultiva- 
tion of all the land. How they do this is unimportant. 
We do not know whether they combine their individual 
plots for common ploughing and sowing or not, and it 
does not matter if they do it differently. What does matter is 
that the peasants are fortunate in not having to face a large 
number of petty-bourgeois intellectuals, who style themselves 
Marxists and Social-Democrats, and with a grave mien 
lecture the people about the time not yet being ripe for a 
socialist revolution and that therefore the peasants must not 
take the land immediately. Fortunately there are few such 
gentlemen in the Russian countryside. If the peasants con- 
tented themselves merely with taking the land by arrange- 
ment with the landowners, and failed to apply their experi- 
ence collectively, failure would be inevitable, and the 
peasant committees would become a mere toy, a meaningless 
game. This is why we propose to add Point 8* to the draft 
resolution. 



See p. 292 of this volume. — Ed. 



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Once we know that the local peasants have themselves 
taken this initiative, it is our duty to say that we approve 
and recommend this initiative. Only this can serve as a 
guarantee that the revolution will not be limited to formal 
measures, that the struggle against the crisis will not remain 
a mere subject for departmental discussion and Shingaryov's 
epistles, but that the peasants will actually go ahead in an 
organised way to combat famine and to increase production. 



A brief report published 
May 13 (April 30), 1917 
in Pravda No. 45 

First published in full in 1921 
in N. Lenin (V. Ulyanov), 
Works, Vol. XIV, Part 2 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



288 



V. I. LENIN 



14 

REJOINDER TO N. S. ANGARSKY 
DURING THE DEBATE ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION 
APRIL 28 (MAY 11) 



Comrades, it seems to me that Comrade Angarsky is in- 
dulging in several contradictions. I speak about the material 
foundation of the urge towards nationalisation. The peasants 
have no idea of nationalisation. I say that the conditions of 
an all-Russia and international market exist, and this is 
expressed in the high prices of grain. Every peasant sees, 
knows, and feels the fluctuations of these prices, and farm- 
ing has to conform to these conditions, to these prices. I 
say that the old landownership and the new farming system 
have absolutely diverged and this divergence explains why 
the peasants are pressing onward. The peasant is a proprie- 
tor, Comrade Angarsky says. Quite right. Stolypin wanted to 
use this as a basis for changing agrarian relations, he tried 
his hardest, but he failed, because such changes cannot be 
brought about without a revolutionary break-up. This, then, 
is the material foundation of the peasants' urge towards the 
nationalisation of the land, although they are completely 
ignorant as to the real meaning of nationalisation. The peas- 
ant proprietor is instinctively inclined to maintain that the 
land is God's, because it has become impossible to live under 
the old conditions of landownership. What Comrade Angar- 
sky is proposing is a sheer misunderstanding. The second 
paragraph says that peasant landownership is fettered all 
round, from top to bottom, by old semi-feudal ties and rela- 
tionships. But does it say anything about the landed estates? 
It does not. Comrade Angarsky's amendment is based on a 
misapprehension. He has ascribed to me things I never said, 



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things the peasants have no idea about. The peasants know 
the world situation by the prices of grain and consumer 
goods, and if a railway runs through his village, the peasant 
feels its effect through his own farm. To live the old way is 
impossible — that's what the peasant feels, and he expresses 
this feeling in a radical demand for the abolition of the old 
system of landownership. The peasant wants to be a proprie- 
tor, but he wants to be one on reallocated land; he wants to 
farm land the ownership of which is conditioned by his 
present requirements, and not by those which were prescribed 
for him by officials. The peasant knows this perfectly 
well, but expresses it differently, of course, and it is this that 
forms the material foundation of his urge towards the nation- 
alisation of the land. 



First published in full in 1921 Published according 

in N. Lenin (V. Ulyanov), to the typewritten copy 

Works, Vol. XIV, Part 2 of the Minutes 



290 



V. I. LENIN 



15 

RESOLUTION ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION 

The existence of landed estates in Russia is the material 
mainstay of the power of the feudalist landowners and a 
guarantee of the possible restoration of the monarchy. This 
system of landownership necessarily condemns the great 
mass of Russia's population, the peasantry, to pauperism, 
bondage, and a downtrodden existence, and the entire coun- 
try to backwardness in every sphere of life. 

Peasant landownership in Russia, both of allotment land 
(communal and homestead) and private land (leased or pur- 
chased), is fettered all round, from top to bottom, by old 
semi-feudal ties and relationships, by the division of the 
peasants into categories inherited from the time of serfdom, 
by the open field system, and so on, and so forth. The need 
for breaking down all these antiquated and harmful restric- 
tions, for "clearing" the land; and reconstructing and read- 
justing all the relations of landownership and agriculture to 
the new conditions of Russian and world economy, forms the 
material foundation of the peasants' urge towards the nation- 
alisation of all the land in the state. 

Whatever the petty-bourgeois Utopias in which all Narod- 
nik parties and groups array the struggle of the peasant 
masses against feudalist big landownership and all the 
feudal fetters of the entire system of landownership and land 
tenure in Russia, that struggle is itself an expression of a 
thoroughly bourgeois-democratic, undoubtedly progressive, 
and economically essential striving resolutely to break all 
those fetters. 

Nationalisation of the land, though being a bourgeois 
measure, implies freedom for the class struggle and freedom 
of land tenure from all non-bourgeois adjuncts to the greatest 



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possible degree conceivable in a capitalist society. Moreover, 
nationalisation of the land, representing as it does the aboli- 
tion of private ownership of land, would, in effect, deal such 
a powerful blow to private ownership of all the means of 
production in general that the party of the proletariat must 
facilitate such a reform in every possible way. 

On the other hand, the well-to-do peasants of Russia 
long ago evolved the elements of a peasant bourgeoisie, 
and the Stolypin agrarian reform has undoubtedly strength- 
ened, augmented, and reinforced these elements. At the 
other pole of the rural population, the agricultural wage- 
workers, the proletarians, and the mass of semi-proletarian 
peasantry, who stand close to the proletarians, have likewise 
gained in strength and numbers. 

The more determined and consistent the break-up and elim- 
ination of the landed estates and the more determined 
and consistent the bourgeois-democratic agrarian reform in 
Russia in general, the more vigorous and speedy will be 
the development of the class struggle of the agricultural 
proletariat against the well-to-do peasants (the peasant 
bourgeoisie). 

The fate and the outcome of the Russian revolution — un- 
less the incipient proletarian revolution m Europe exercises 
a direct and powerful influence on our country — will depend 
on whether the urban proletariat succeeds in rallying the ru- 
ral proletariat together with the mass of rural semi-proletari- 
ans behind it, or whether this mass follows the lead of the 
peasant bourgeoisie, which is gravitating towards an alli- 
ance with Guchkov and Milyukov, with the capitalists and 
landowners, and towards the counter-revolution in general. 

In view of this class situation and balance of forces the 
Conference resolves that: 

1) The party of the proletariat will fight with all its 
might for the immediate and complete confiscation of all 
landed estates in Russia (and also crown lands, church lands, 
etc., etc.); 

2) The party will vigorously advocate the immediate 
transfer of all lands to the peasantry organised in Soviets 
of Peasants Deputies, or in other organs of local self-govern- 
ment elected in a really democratic way and entirely inde- 
pendent of the landowners and officials; 



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V. I. LENIN 



3) The party of the proletariat demands the nationalisation 
of all the land in the country; nationalisation, which 
signifies the transfer of the right of ownership of all land to 
the state, vests the right of administering the land in local 
democratic institutions; 

4) The party must wage a determined struggle, on the one 
hand, against the Provisional Government, which, both through 
the mouth of Shingaryov and by its collective utterances, 
is trying to force the peasants to come to a "voluntary 
agreement with the landowners", i.e., is trying virtually to 
impose upon them a reform which suits the interests of the 
landowners, and is threatening the peasants with punishment 
for "arbitrary action", that is, with the use of violence by a 
minority of the population (the landowners and capitalists) 
against the majority; on the other hand, against the petty- 
bourgeois vacillations of the majority of the Narodniks and 
the Menshevik Social-Democrats, who are advising the 
peasants not to take all the land pending the convocation of 
the Constituent Assembly; 

5) The party advises the peasants to take the land in an 
organised way, not allowing the slightest damage to property, 
and taking measures to increase production; 

6) Agrarian reforms, by and large, can be successful and 
durable only provided the whole state is democratised, i.e., 
provided, on the one hand, the police, the standing army, and 
the privileged bureaucracy are abolished, and provided, on 
the other, there exists a system of broad local self-govern- 
ment completely free from supervision and tutelage from 
above; 

7) The separate and independent organisation of the agri- 
cultural proletariat must be undertaken immediately and 
everywhere, both in the form of Soviets of Agricultural 
Labourers' Deputies (as well as of separate Soviets of depu- 
ties of the semi-proletarian peasantry) and in the form of 
proletarian groups or factions within the general Soviets of 
Peasants' Deputies, in all local and municipal government 
bodies, etc., 

8) The party must support the initiative of those peasant 
committees which in a number of localities in Russia are 
handing over the livestock and agricultural implements of 
the landowners to the peasants organised in those committees, 



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to be used in a socially regulated manner for the cultivation 
of all the land; 

9) The party of the proletariat must advise the rural 
proletarians and semi-proletarians to strive to convert 
every landed estate into a fair-sized model farm to be run 
on public lines by the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' 
Deputies under the direction of agricultural experts and with 
the application of the best technique. 



Pravda No. 45, 
May 13 (April 30), 1917 



Published according 
to the text of the proof-sheets 
with Lenin's corrections 



294 



V. I. LENIN 



16 

RESOLUTION ON UNITING THE INTERNATIONALISTS 
AGAINST THE PETTY-BOURGEOIS DEFENCIST BLOC 

Taking into consideration: 

(1) that the parties of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, 
Menshevik Social-Democrats, etc., have, in the great major- 
ity of cases, adopted the stand of "revolutionary defencism", 
that is, support of the imperialist war (voting in favour of 
the loan and supporting the Provisional Government which 
represents the interests of Capital); 

(2) that these parties in all their policies defend the 
interests and point of view of the petty bourgeoisie and 
corrupt the proletariat with bourgeois influence by trying 
to persuade it that it is possible, by means of agreements, 
"control", participation in the cabinet, etc., to change the 
government's imperialist policy and divert it from the path 
of counter-revolutionary encroachments on liberty; 

(3) that this policy encourages and enhances the attitude 
of unreasoning trust on the part of the masses towards the 
capitalists, an attitude which constitutes the chief obstacle 
to the further development of the revolution, and a possible 
source of the revolution's defeat by the landowner and bour- 
geois counter-revolution, 

the Conference resolves that: 

(1) unity with parties and groups which are pursuing 
such a policy is absolutely impossible; 

(2) closer relations and unity with groups and trends that 
have adopted a real internationalist stand are necessary on 
the basis of a definite break with the policy of petty-bourgeois 
betrayal of socialism. 



Pravda No. 46, 
May 15 (2), 1917 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



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17 

RESOLUTION ON THE SOVIETS 
OF WORKERS' AND SOLDIERS' DEPUTIES 

The Conference has discussed the reports and communica- 
tions of comrades working in the Soviets of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies in different parts of Russia and states that: 

In many provincial areas the revolution is progressing 
in the following way: the proletariat and the peasantry, 
on their own initiative, are organising Soviets and dismissing 
the old authorities; a proletarian and peasant militia is 
being set up; all lands are being transferred to the peasants; 
workers' control over the factories and the eight-hour 
day have been introduced and wages have been increased; 
production is being maintained, and workers control the 
distribution of food, etc. 

This growth of the revolution in the provinces in depth and 
scope is, on the one hand, the growth of a movement for 
transferring all power to the Soviets and putting the workers 
and peasants themselves in control of production. On the 
other hand, it serves as a guarantee for the build-up of 
forces, on a national scale, for the second stage of the revolu- 
tion, which must transfer all state power to the Soviets or to 
other organs directly expressing the will of the majority 
of the nation (organs of local self-government, the Constitu- 
ent Assembly, etc.). 

In the capitals and in a few other large cities the task of 
transferring state power to the Soviets is particularly difficult 
and requires an especially long period of preparation of the 
proletariat's forces. This is where the largest forces of the bour- 
geoisie are concentrated, where a policy of compromise with 
the bourgeoisie is most strongly in evidence, a policy which 
often holds back the revolutionary initiative of the masses and 



296 



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weakens their independence; this is particularly dangerous in 
view of the leading role of these Soviets for the provinces. 

It is, therefore, the task of the proletarian party, on the 
one hand, to support in every possible way the indicated 
development of the revolution locally, and, on the other 
to conduct a systematic struggle within the Soviets (by 
means of propaganda and new elections) for the triumph of 
the proletarian line. The party must concentrate all its 
efforts and all its attention on winning over the mass of 
workers and soldiers, and must draw a line between the 
policy of the proletariat and that of the petty bourgeoisie, 
between the internationalist policy and the defencist policy, 
between the revolutionary and the opportunist policy. The 
party must organise and arm the workers and build up their 
forces for the next stage of the revolution. 

The Conference repeats that it is necessary to carry out 
many-sided activity within the Soviets of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies, to increase the number of Soviets, to 
consolidate their power, and to weld together our Party's 
proletarian internationalist groups within the Soviets. 



Pravda No. 46, 
May 15 (2), 1917 



NOT 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



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18 

SPEECH ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION 
APRIL 29 (MAY 12) 

Beginning from 1903, when our Party adopted its pro- 
gramme, we have been encountering violent opposition on 
the part of the Polish comrades. If you study the Minutes 
of the Second Congress you will see that they were using 
the same arguments then that they are using now, and that 
the Polish Social-Democrats walked out from that Congress 
because they held that recognition of the right of nations 
to self-determination was unacceptable to them. Ever since 
then we have been coming up against the same question. 
Though imperialism already existed in 1903, the Polish 
Social-Democrats made no mention of it in their arguments. 
They are making the same strange and monstrous error now 
as they were then. These people want to put our Party's 
stand on a par with that of the chauvinists. 

Owing to long oppression by Russia Poland's policy is 
a wholly nationalist one, and the whole Polish nation is 
obsessed with one idea — revenge on the Muscovites. No one 
has oppressed the Poles more than the Russian people, 
who served in the hands of the tsars as the executioner of 
Polish freedom. In no nation does hatred of Russia sit so 
deep as with the Poles; no nation dislikes Russia so intensely 
as the Poles. As a result we have a strange thing. Because of 
the Polish bourgeoisie, Poland has become an obstacle to 
the socialist movement. The whole world could go to the 
devil so long as Poland was free. Of course, this way of putting 
the question is a mockery of internationalism. Of course, 
Poland is now a victim of violence, but for the Polish nation- 
alists to count on Russia liberating Poland — that would be 
treason to the International. The Polish nationalists have 



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V. I. LENIN 



so imbued the Polish people with their views that this is 
how the situation is regarded in Poland. 

The Polish Social-Democratic comrades have rendered a 
great historic service by advancing the slogan of interna- 
tionalism and declaring that the fraternal union of the pro- 
letariat of all countries is of supreme importance to them and 
that they will never go to war for the liberation of Poland. 
This is to their credit, and this is why we have always 
regarded only these Polish Social-Democrats as socialists. The 
others are patriots, Polish Plekhanovs. But this peculiar 
position, when, in order to safeguard socialism, people were 
forced to struggle against a rabid and morbid nationalism, 
has produced a strange state of affairs: comrades come to us 
saying that we must give up the idea of Poland's freedom, her 
right to secession. 

Why should we Great Russians, who have been oppressing 
more nations than any other people, deny the right to 
secession for Poland, Ukraine, or Finland? We are asked to 
become chauvinists, because by doing so we would make the 
position of Social-Democrats in Poland less difficult. We 
do not pretend to seek to liberate Poland, because the 
Polish people live between two states that are capable of fight- 
ing. Instead of telling the Polish workers that only those 
Social-Democrats are real democrats who maintain that the 
Polish people ought to be free, since there is no place for 
chauvinists in a socialist party, the Polish Social-Democrats 
argue that, just because they find the union with Russian 
workers advantageous, they are opposed to Poland's secession. 
They have a perfect right to do so. But people don't 
want to understand that to strengthen internationalism you 
do not have to repeat the same words. What you have to do 
is to stress, in Russia, the freedom of secession for oppressed 
nations and, in Poland, their freedom to unite. Freedom 
to unite implies freedom to secede. We Russians must 
emphasise freedom to secede, while the Poles must 
emphasise freedom to unite. 

We notice here a number of sophisms involving a complete 
renunciation of Marxism. Comrade Pyatakov's stand repeats 
that of Rosa Luxemburg....* (Holland is an example.) 



*A gap in the Minutes.— Ed. 



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This is how Comrade Pyatakov reasons, and this is how he 
refutes himself, for in theory he denies freedom of secession, 
but to the people he says that anyone opposing freedom of 
secession is not a socialist. Comrade Pyatakov has been 
saying things here that are hopelessly muddled. In Western 
Europe most countries settled their national questions long 
ago. It is Western Europe that is referred to when it is said 
that the national question has been settled. Comrade Pyata- 
kov, however, puts this where it does not belong — to East- 
ern Europe, and we find ourselves in a ridiculous position. 

Just think of the dreadful mess that results Finland 
is right next door to us. Comrade Pyatakov has no definite 
answer for Finland and gets all mixed up. In yesterday's 
Rabochaya Gazeta you read that the movement for separation 
is growing in Finland. Finns arriving here tell us that 
separatism is growing there because the Cadets refuse to 
grant the country complete autonomy. A crisis is approaching 
there, dissatisfaction with Governor-General Rodichev is 
rife, but Rabochaya Gazeta writes that the Finns should 
wait for the Constituent Assembly, because an agreement 
will there be reached between Finland and Russia. What do 
they mean by agreement? The Finns must declare that they 
are entitled to decide their destiny in their own way, and 
any Great Russian who denies this right is a chauvinist. 
It would be another thing if we said to the Finnish worker: 
Decide what is best for yourself....* 

Comrade Pyatakov simply rejects our slogan, saying that 
it means giving no slogan for the socialist revolution, but 
he himself gives no appropriate slogan. The method of 
socialist revolution under the slogan "Down with frontiers" 
is all muddled up. We have not succeeded in publishing 
the article in which I called this view "imperialist Econo- 
mism".** What does the "method" of socialist revolution 
under the slogan "Down with frontiers" mean? We maintain 
that the state is necessary, and a state presupposes frontiers. 
The state, of course, may hold a bourgeois government, but 
we need the Soviets. But even Soviets are confronted with 
the question of frontiers. What does "Down with frontiers" 



*A gap in the Minutes.— Ed. 

*See present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 28-76.— Ed. 



300 



V. I. LENIN 



mean? It is the beginning of anarchy The "method" of 

socialist revolution under the slogan "Down with frontiers" 
is simply a mess. When the time is ripe for socialist revolu- 
tion, when it finally occurs, it will spread to other countries. 
We shall help it along, but in what manner, we do not know. 
"The method of socialist revolution" is just a meaningless 
phrase. We stand for the settlement of problems which the 
bourgeois revolution has left unsolved. Our attitude to the 
separatist movement is indifferent, neutral. If Finland, 
Poland or Ukraine secede from Russia, there is nothing bad 
in that. What is wrong with it? Anyone who says that is a 
chauvinist. One must be mad to continue Tsar Nicholas's 
policy. Didn't Norway secede from Sweden? Alexander I 
and Napoleon once bartered nations, the tsars once traded 
Poland. Are we to continue this policy of the tsars? This is 
repudiation of the tactics of internationalism, this is chau- 
vinism at its worst. What is wrong with Finland seceding? 
After the secession of Norway from Sweden mutual trust 
increased between the two peoples, between the proletariat of 
these countries. The Swedish landowners wanted to start a war, 
but the Swedish workers refused to be drawn into such a war. 

All the Finns want now is autonomy. We are for Finland 
receiving complete freedom, because then there will be 
greater trust in Russian democracy and the Finns will 
not separate. While Mr. Rodichev goes to Finland to haggle 
over autonomy, our Finnish comrades come here and say, 
"We want autonomy." But what they get is a broadside, 
and the answer: "Wait for the Constituent Assembly." But 
we say: "Any Russian socialist who denies Finland freedom 
is a chauvinist." 

We say that frontiers are determined by the will of the 
population. Russia, don't you dare fight over Kurland! 
Germany, get your armies out of Kurland! That is how we 
solve the secession problem. The proletariat cannot use 
force, because it must not prevent the peoples from obtaining 
their freedom. Only when the socialist revolution has become 
a reality, and not a method, will the slogan "Down with 
frontiers" be a correct slogan. Then we shall say: Comrades, 
come to us.... 

War is a different matter entirely. If need be, we shall not 
draw the line at a revolutionary war. We are not pacifists.... 



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When we have Milyukov sitting here and sending Rodichev 
to Finland to shamefully haggle with the Finnish people, 
we say to the Russian people: Don't you dare coerce Fin- 
land; no nation can be free that oppresses other nations. 92 
In the resolution concerning Borgbjerg we say: Withdraw 
your troops and let the nation settle the question itself. 
But, if the Soviet takes over power tomorrow, that will not 
be a "method of socialist revolution", and we shall then say: 
Germany, get your troops out of Poland, and Russia, get 
your troops out of Armenia. If we did otherwise we should 
be deceiving people. 

Comrade Dzerzhinsky tells us that in his oppressed 
Poland everybody is a chauvinist. But not a single Pole 
has said a word about Finland or Ukraine. We have been 
arguing over this so much since 1903 that it is becoming 

difficult to talk about it. Do as you please 

Anyone who does not accept this point of view is an annexa- 
tionist and a chauvinist. We are for a fraternal union 
of all nations. If there is a Ukrainian republic and a 
Russian republic, there will be closer contact and greater 
trust between the two. If the Ukrainians see that we have a 
Soviet republic, they will not secede, but if we have a Milyu- 
kov republic, they will. When Comrade Pyatakov said 
in self-contradiction that he is against the forcible retention 
of nations within the frontiers, he actually recognised the 
right of nations to self-determination. We certainly do not 
want the peasant in Khiva to live under the Khan of Khiva. 
By developing our revolution we shall influence the oppressed 
people. Propaganda among the oppressed mass must follow 
only this line. 

Any Russian socialist who does not recognise Finland's 
and Ukraine's right to freedom will degenerate into a chauvin- 
ist. And no sophisms or references to his "method" will ever 
help him to justify himself. 



A brief report published 
May 15 (2), 1917 
in Pravda No. 46 

First published in full Published according 

in 1921 in N. Lenin to the typewritten copy 

(V. Ulyanov), Works, of the Minutes 

Vol. XIV, Part 2 



302 



V. I. LENIN 



19 

RESOLUTION ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION 

The policy of national oppression, inherited from the autoc- 
racy and monarchy; is maintained by the landowners, 
capitalists, and petty bourgeoisie in order to protect their 
class privileges and to cause disunity among the workers of 
the various nationalities. Modern imperialism, which 
increases the tendency to subjugate weaker nations, is a new 
factor intensifying national oppression. 

The elimination of national oppression, if at all achievable 
in capitalist society, is possible only under a consistently 
democratic republican system and state administration that 
guarantee complete equality for all nations and lan- 
guages. 

The right of all the nations forming part of Russia freely 
to secede and form independent states must be recognised. 
To deny them this right, or to fail to take measures guarantee- 
ing its practical realisation, is equivalent to supporting a 
policy of seizure or annexation. Only the recognition by 
the proletariat of the right of nations to secede can ensure 
complete solidarity among the workers of the various nations 
and help to bring the nations closer together on truly 
democratic lines. 

The conflict which has arisen at the present time between 
Finland and the Russian Provisional Government strikingly 
demonstrates that denial of the right to free secession leads 
to a direct continuation of the policy of tsarism. 

The right of nations freely to secede must not be con- 
fused with the advisability of secession by a given nation 
at a given moment. The party of the proletariat must decide 
the latter question quite independently in each particular 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



303 



case, having regard to the interests of social development 
as a whole and the interests of the class struggle of the 
proletariat for socialism. 

The Party demands broad regional autonomy, the aboli- 
tion of supervision from above, the abolition of a compulsory 
official language, and the fixing of the boundaries of the 
self-governing and autonomous regions in accordance with 
the economic and social conditions, the national composition 
of the population, and so forth, as assessed by the local 
population itself. 

The party of the proletariat emphatically rejects what 
is known as "national cultural autonomy", under which edu- 
cation, etc., is removed from the control of the state and put 
in the control of some kind of national diets. National cultur- 
al autonomy artificially divides the workers living in one 
locality, and even working in the same industrial enterprise, 
according to their various "national cultures"; in other 
words, it strengthens the ties between the workers and the 
bourgeois culture of their nations, whereas the aim of the 
Social-Democrats is to develop the international culture of 
the world proletariat. 

The party demands that a fundamental law be embodied 
in the constitution annulling all privileges enjoyed by any 
one nation and all infringements of the rights of national 
minorities. 

The interests of the working class demand that the workers 
of all nationalities in Russia should have common proletar- 
ian organisations: political, trade union, co-operative educa- 
tional institutions, and so forth. Only the merging of the 
workers of the various nationalities into such common organ- 
isations will make it possible for the proletariat to wage a 
successful struggle against international Capital and bour- 
geois nationalism. 



Supplement to Soldatskaya Pravda No. 13, 
May 16 (3), 1917 



Published according 
to the manuscript 



304 



V. I. LENIN 



20 

SPEECH ON THE SITUATION WITHIN THE INTERNATIONAL 
AND THE TASKS OF THE R.S.D.L.P.(B.) 
APRIL 29 (MAY 12) 

Comrade Zinoviev admitted that our visit to Stockholm 
would be the last one, and that we would only be there for 
the purpose of information. 93 

When Grimm invited us to the conference, I refused to 
go, because I realised that it would be useless to talk to people 
who stood for social-chauvinism. We say: "No participation 
with social-chauvinists." We come and address ourselves 
to the Zimmerwald Left. Grimm had a moral and formal 
right to draw up today's resolution. His right was based on 
Kautsky in Germany, on Longuet in France. This is how the 
matter stands officially: Grimm has announced, "We will 
disband our bureau, as soon as Huysmans organises a 
bureau." When we said that such a solution was not acceptable 
to Zimmerwald, he agreed, but said "this is the opinion of 
the majority" — and that was true. 

As to our visit. "We shall get information, we shall get 
in touch with the Zimmerwald Left," it is claimed. There 
is very little hope of our winning over anybody else. Let 
us have no illusions; first, the visit will not take place; 
second, if it does, it will be our last; third, we cannot, 
for technical reasons, win over the elements that wish to 
break with the social-chauvinists. But let Comrade Nogin 
make the first and Comrade Zinoviev the last visit to Stock- 
holm. As for me, I express the very legitimate wish that this 
"last-visit" attempt should be made as quickly and success- 
fully as possible. 



A brief report published May 15 (2), 1917 
in Pravda No. 46 

First published in full 
in 1925 in the book The Petrograd 

City and the All-Russia 
Conferences of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), 
April 1917 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



305 



21 

SPEECH 

IN FAVOUR OF THE RESOLUTION 
ON THE CURRENT SITUATION 
APRIL 29 (MAY 12) 

In the resolution on the current situation it would 
be wrong to speak only of Russian conditions. The war has 
bound us together so inseparably that it would be a great 
mistake on our part to ignore the sum total of international 
relations. 

The main question dealt with in the resolution is this: 
what tasks will confront the Russian proletariat in the event 
of the world movement raising the issue of a social revolu- 
tion? 

"The objective conditions for a socialist revolution, 
which undoubtedly existed even before the war in the more 
developed and advanced countries, have been ripening with 
tremendous rapidity as a result of the war. Small and middle 
enterprises are being squeezed out and ruined at a faster 
rate than ever. The concentration and internationalisation 
of capital are making gigantic strides; monopoly capitalism 
is developing into state monopoly capitalism. In a number 
of countries regulation of production and distribution by 
society is being introduced by force of circumstances. Some 
countries are introducing universal labour conscription." 

Before the war we had the monopoly of trusts and syn- 
dicates; since the war we have had a state monopoly. Uni- 
versal labour conscription is something new, something that 
constitutes part of a socialist whole — this is often over- 
looked by those who fear to examine the concrete situation. 

The first part of the resolution concentrates on an analy- 
sis of the conditions of capitalist economy throughout the 
world. It is noteworthy that twenty-seven years ago Engels 



306 



V. I. LENIN 



pointed out that to describe capitalism as something that 
"is distinguished by its planlessness" and to overlook the 
role played by the trusts was unsatisfactory. Engels remarked 
that "when we come to the trust, then planlessness disap- 
pears", though there is capitalism. This remark is all the 
more pertinent today, when we have a military state, when 
we have state monopoly capitalism. Planning does not make 
the worker less of a slave, but it enables the capitalist to 
make his profits "according to plan". Capitalism is now 
evolving directly into its higher, regulated, form. 

The second part of the resolution needs no explana- 
tions. 

The third part requires more detailed comment. (Reads 
the resolution.) 

"Operating as it does in one of the most backward coun- 
tries of Europe amidst a vast population of small peasants, 
the proletariat of Russia cannot aim at immediately put- 
ting into effect socialist changes. 

"But it would be a grave error, and in effect even a complete 
desertion to the bourgeoisie, to infer from this that the 
working class must support the bourgeoisie, or that it must 
keep its activities within limits acceptable to the petty bour- 
geoisie, or that the proletariat must renounce its leading role 
in the matter of explaining to the people the urgency of tak- 
ing a number of practical steps towards socialism for which 
the time is now ripe." 

From the first premise it is customary to make the conclu- 
sion that "Russia is a backward country, a peasant, petty- 
bourgeois country, therefore there can be no question of a 
social revolution". People forget, however, that the war has 
placed us in extraordinary circumstances, and that side by 
side with the petty bourgeoisie we have Big Capital. But 
what are the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
to do when they assume power? Should they go over to the 
bourgeoisie? Our answer is — the working class will continue 
its class struggle. 

What is possible and what is necessary under the power 
of the Soviets? 

First of all, the nationalisation of the land. Nationalisa- 
tion of the land is a bourgeois measure, it does not exclude 
capitalism, nor does capitalism exclude it, but the blow it 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



307 



will deal to private property will be a heavy one. Further 
{reads on): 

"the establishment of state control over all banks, and 
their amalgamation into a single central bank; also control 
over the insurance agencies and big capitalist syndicates 
(for example, the Sugar Syndicate, the Coal Syndicate, the 
Metal Syndicate, etc.), and the gradual introduction of a 
more just progressive tax on incomes and properties. Econom- 
ically, these measures are timely; technically, they can be 
carried out immediately; politically they are likely to receive 
the support of the overwhelming majority of the peasants, 
who have everything to gain by these reforms." 

This point evoked discussion. I already had occasion to 
speak of this in Pravda in connection with Plekhanov's 
articles. "When they talk about socialism being impossible," 
I wrote, "they try to speak of the latter in a way most 
advantageous to themselves, they represent it vaguely, indefi- 
nitely, as some sort of a jump." Kautsky himself wrote: 
"No socialist speaks of the abolition of private property 
in the case of the peasants." But does that mean that existing 
large-scale capital must make it unnecessary for the Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies to control production, to 
control the sugar and other syndicates? This measure 
is not socialism — it is a transitional measure, but the 
carrying out of such measures together with the existence 
of the Soviets will bring about a situation in which Russia 
will have one foot in socialism — we say one foot because the 
peasant majority controls the other part of the country's 
economy. It cannot be denied that economically we are ripe 
for a change. To effect that change politically, we must have 
a majority, and the majority are peasants who are naturally 
interested in such changes. Whether they will prove suffi- 
ciently organised is another matter; we cannot speak for them. 

An old and oft-repeated objection to socialism is that 
socialism means "barracks for the masses" and "mass bureauc- 
racy". We must now put the issue of socialism differently; 
we must raise it from the level of the abstract to the level 
of the concrete, namely, the nationalisation of the land, con- 
trol over the syndicates, etc. (reads the resolution). 

"All these and other similar measures can and should 
be not only discussed and prepared for enforcement on a 



308 



V. I. LENIN 



national scale in the event of all power passing to the proletar- 
ians and semi-proletarians, but also implemented by the 
local revolutionary organs of power of the whole people 
when the opportunity arises. 

"Great care and discretion should be exercised in car- 
rying out the above measures; a solid majority of the popu- 
lation must be won over and this majority must be clearly 
convinced of the country's practical preparedness for any 
particular measure. This is the direction in which the 
class-conscious vanguard of the workers must focus its atten- 
tion and efforts, because it is the bounden duty of these 
workers to help the peasants find a way out of the present 
debacle." 

These last words are the crux of the whole resolution; 
we put the issue of socialism not as a jump, but as a practi- 
cal way out of the present debacle. 

"This is a bourgeois revolution, it is therefore useless to 
speak of socialism," say our opponents. But we say just the 
opposite: "Since the bourgeoisie cannot find a way out of the 
present situation, the revolution is bound to go on." We 
must not confine ourselves to democratic phrases; we must 
make the situation clear to the masses, and indicate a number 
of practical measures to them, namely, they must take over 
the syndicates — control them through the Soviets, etc. When 
all such measures are carried out, Russia will be standing 
with one foot in socialism. Our economic programme must 
show a way out of the debacle — this is what should guide our 
actions. 



First published in 1925 Published according 

in the book The Petrograd City to the manuscript copy 

and the All-Russia Conferences of the Minutes 
of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), April 1917 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



309 



22 

RESOLUTION ON THE CURRENT SITUATION 

The world war, brought about by the struggle of world 
trusts and banking capital for domination over the world 
market, has already led to the mass destruction of material 
values, to exhaustion of productive forces, and to such a 
growth in the war industry that it is impossible to produce 
even the absolutely necessary minimum of consumer goods 
and means of production. 

The present war, therefore, has brought humanity to an 
impasse and placed it on the brink of ruin. 

The objective conditions for a socialist revolution, which 
undoubtedly existed even before the war in the more devel- 
oped and advanced countries, have been ripening with 
tremendous rapidity as a result of the war. Small and middle 
enterprises are being squeezed out and ruined at a faster rate 
than ever. The concentration and internationalisation of 
capital are making gigantic strides; monopoly capitalism is 
developing into state monopoly capitalism. In a number of 
countries regulation of production and distribution by 
society is being introduced by force of circumstances. Some 
countries are introducing universal labour conscription. 

Under private ownership of the means of production, all 
these steps towards greater monopolisation and control of 
production by the state are inevitably accompanied by in- 
tensified exploitation of the working people, by an increase 
in oppression; it becomes more difficult to resist the exploi- 
ters, and reaction and military despotism grow. At the same 
time these steps inevitably lead to a tremendous growth in the 
profits of the big capitalists at the expense of all other sections 
of the population. The working people for decades to come 
are forced to pay tribute to the capitalists in the form of 



310 



V. I. LENIN 



interest payments on war loans running into thousands of 
millions. But with private ownership of the means of produc- 
tion abolished and state power passing completely to the 
proletariat, these very conditions are a pledge of success for 
society's transformation that will do away with the exploi- 
tation of man by man and ensure the well-being of everyone. 

* * 
* 

On the other hand, the course of events is clearly confirm- 
ing the forecast of the socialists of the whole world who, 
precisely in connection with the imperialist war, then impend- 
ing and now raging unanimously declared in the 1912 
Basle Manifesto that a proletarian revolution was inevi- 
table. 

The Russian revolution is only the first stage of the first 
of the proletarian revolutions which are the inevitable 
result of war. 

In all countries a spirit of rebellion against the capitalist 
class is growing among the masses, and the proletariat is 
becoming aware that only the transfer of power to the prole- 
tariat and the abolition of private ownership of the means of 
production can save humanity from ruin. 

In all countries, especially in the most advanced, Brit- 
ain and Germany, hundreds of socialists who have not gone 
over to the side of "their own" national bourgeoisie have 
been thrown into prison by the capitalist governments. 
By this action the latter have clearly demonstrated their fear 
of the mounting proletarian revolution. In Germany the 
impending revolution is apparent both in the mass strikes, 
which have assumed particularly large proportions in recent 
weeks, and in the growth of fraternisation between the 
German and Russian soldiers at the front. 

Fraternal trust and unity are gradually being restored 
among the workers of different countries, the very workers 
who are now killing each other in the interests of the capital- 
ists. This, in turn, will create conditions for united revolu- 
tionary action by the workers of different countries. Only 
such action can guarantee the most systematic development 
and the most likely success of the world socialist revolu- 
tion. 

* , * 
* 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



311 



Operating as it does in one of the most backward coun- 
tries of Europe amidst a vast population of small peasants, 
the proletariat of Russia cannot aim at immediately putting 
into effect socialist changes. 

But it would be a grave error, and in effect even a complete 
desertion to the bourgeoisie, to infer from this that the work- 
ing class must support the bourgeoisie, or that it must 
keep its activities within limits acceptable to the petty 
bourgeoisie, or that the proletariat must renounce its leading 
role in the matter of explaining to the people the urgency of 
taking a number of practical steps towards socialism for 
which the time is now ripe. 

These steps are: first, nationalisation of the land. This 
measure, which does not directly go beyond the framework 
of the bourgeois system, would, at the same time, be a heavy 
blow at private ownership of the means of production, 
and as such would strengthen the influence of the socialist 
proletariat over the semi-proletariat in the countryside. 

The next steps are the establishment of state control 
over all banks, and their amalgamation into a single central 
bank; also control over the insurance agencies and big 
capitalist syndicates (for example, the Sugar Syndicate, the 
Coal Syndicate, the Metal Syndicate, etc.), and the gradual 
introduction of a more just progressive tax on incomes 
and properties. Economically, these measures are timely; 
technically, they can be carried out immediately; political- 
ly they are likely to receive the support of the overwhelming 
majority of the peasants, who have everything to gain by 
these reforms. 

The Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', and other 
Deputies, which now cover Russia with a dense and growing 
network, could also introduce, parallel with the above meas- 
ures, universal labour conscription, for on the one hand 
the character of the Soviets guarantees that all these new 
reforms will be introduced only when an overwhelming major- 
ity of the people has clearly and firmly realised the practical 
need for them; on the other hand their character guarantees 
that the reforms will not be sponsored by the police and 
officials, but will be carried out by way of voluntary participa- 
tion of the organised and armed masses of the proletariat 
and peasantry in the management of their own affairs. 



312 



V. I. LENIN 



All these and other similar measures can and should be 
not only discussed and prepared for enforcement on a nation- 
al scale in the event of all power passing to the proletarians 
and semi-proletarians, but also implemented by the local 
revolutionary organs of power of the whole people when the 
opportunity arises. 

Great care and discretion should be exercised in carrying 
out the above measures; a solid majority of the population 
must be won over and this majority must be clearly con- 
vinced of the country's practical preparedness for any 
particular measure. This is the direction in which the 
class-conscious vanguard of the workers must focus its atten- 
tion and efforts, because it is the bounden duty of these work- 
ers to help the peasants find a way out of the present debacle. 

Supplement to Soldatskaya Pravda No. 13, Published according 

May 16 (3), 1917 to the Supplement text 

verified with the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes corrected by 
Lenin 



THE (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 



313 



23 

INCLUDING SPEECH 
AT THE CLOSING OF THE CONFERENCE 
APRIL 29 (MAY 12) 



Owing to lack of time Lenin made no speech in favour 
of changing the name of the Party, but referred the delegates 
to his newly written pamphlet The Tasks of the Proletariat 
in Our Revolution,* which will serve as material for discuss- 
ion in the local Party organisations. 

A word about the Conference. 

We have had little time and a lot of work. The conditions 
in which our Party finds itself are difficult. The defencist 
parties are strong, but the proletarian masses look with dis- 
favour upon defencism and the imperialist war. Our resolu- 
tions are not written with a view to the broad masses, 
but they will serve to unify the activities of our agitators 
and propagandists, and the reader will find in them guidance 
in his work. We have to speak to the millions; we must draw 
fresh forces from among the masses, we must call for more 
developed class-conscious workers who would popularise 
our theses in a way the masses would understand. We shall 
endeavour in our pamphlets to present our resolutions in a 
more popular form, and hope that our comrades will do the 
same thing locally. The proletariat will find in our resolu- 
tions material to guide it in its movement towards the second 
stage of our revolution. 

First published in 1925 Published according 

in the book The Petrograd City to the manuscript copy 
and the All-Russia Conferences of the Minutes 

of the R.S.D.L.P.(BJ, April 1917 



* See pp. 84-88 of this volume.— Ed. 



314 



INTRODUCTION TO THE RESOLUTIONS 
OF THE SEVENTH (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA 
CONFERENCE OF THE R.S.D.L.P.(B.) 

Workers, comrades! 

The All-Russia Conference of the Russian Social-Demo- 
cratic Labour Party, united by its Central Committee and 
known simply as the Bolshevik Party, is over 

The Conference has adopted very important resolutions 
on all the fundamental issues of the revolution and the full 
text of them is published below. 

The revolution is passing through a crisis. This could 
be seen in the streets of Petrograd and Moscow between 
April 19 and April 21. This has been admitted by the Provi- 
sional Government. It has been admitted by the 
Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies. Still further confirmation of it has 
been given, as I pen these lines, by the resignation of 
Guchkov. 

This crisis of state power, this crisis of the revolution, 
is no accident. The Provisional Government is a government 
of landowners and capitalists who are tied up with Russian 
and Anglo-French capital and compelled to continue 
the imperialist war. But the soldiers are worn out by 
the war, they are becoming more and more aware that 
the war is being fought in the interests of the capitalists; 
the soldiers do not want war. Furthermore, the grim 
spectre of an appalling debacle, of famine and complete 
economic ruin is advancing upon Russia and other 
countries. 



INTRODUCTION TO THE RESOLUTIONS 



315 



The Petrograd Soviet has also got into a blind alley 
by entering into an agreement with the Provisional Govern- 
ment, by supporting it, by supporting the loan, and, 
consequently, supporting the war. The Soviet is responsible 
for the Provisional Government, and, seeing no way out of 
the situation, has also got itself into a muddle through 
this agreement with the capitalist government. 

At this great historic moment, when the future of the 
revolution is at stake, when the capitalists are torn between 
despair and the thought of shooting down workers, our 
Party appeals to the people, saying in its Conference 
resolutions: 

We must understand which classes are the motive force 
of the revolution. Their various aspirations must be soberly 
assessed. The capitalist cannot travel the same road as the 
worker. Petty proprietors can neither fully trust the capi- 
talists nor all immediately agree on a close fraternal alliance 
with the workers. Only when we understand the difference 
between these classes shall we be able to find the correct road 
for the revolution. 

The decisions of our Conference on all the basic issues 
of the people's life draw a clear line between the interests 
of the different classes and show that it is absolutely impos- 
sible to find a way out of the deadlock unless the policy of 
trust in and support of the capitalist government is aban- 
doned. 

The situation is one of unparalleled difficulty. There 
is one way out and only one — the transfer of all state 
power to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', and 
other Deputies throughout Russia, from the bottom up. Only 
if state power passes to the working class supported by most 
of the peasantry, will it be possible to count on speedily 
regaining the confidence of the workers of other countries, 
to count on a mighty European revolution that will throw 
off the yoke of Capital and put an end to the criminal blood- 
shed in which the peoples are embroiled. Only if the power 
passes to the working class supported by most of the peasants 
shall we be able to cherish the firm hope that the working 
people will show complete confidence in that power and all, 
without exception, work selflessly to bring about a trans- 
formation of the entire way of life of the people in the 



316 



V. I. LENIN 



interests of those who labour and not in the interests of the 
capitalists and landowners. Without such selfless work, with- 
out a gigantic effort on the part of each and every individual, 
without firmness and the determination to rebuild life in a 
new way, without the strict organisation and comradely 
discipline of all workers and all poor peasants — without 
all this there is no way out. 

The war has brought all mankind to the brink of destruc- 
tion. The capitalists have become deeply involved in the 
war and are unable to extricate themselves. The whole 
world faces disaster. 

Workers, comrades! The time is drawing near when events 
will demand new and still greater heroism — the heroism of 
millions and tens of millions — than you displayed in the 
glorious days of the revolution of February and March. Pre- 
pare yourselves. 

Prepare yourselves and remember that if, together with 
the capitalists, you were able to achieve victory in a few 
days by a simple outburst of popular wrath, you will need 
more than that for victory against the capitalists, for victory 
over the capitalists. To achieve such a victory, to have the 
workers and poor peasants take the power, keep that power 
and make proper use of it, you will need organisation, organi- 
sation, and organisation. 

Our Party is helping you as much as it can, primarily 
by bringing home to you the different positions of the 
different classes and their different strength. The decisions of 
our Conference are devoted to this, and unless you realise 
this clearly, organisation does not mean anything. And 
without organisation action by the millions is impossible, 
success is impossible. 

Don't put your trust in words. Don't be misled by prom- 
ises. Don't overestimate your strength. Organise at every 
factory, in every regiment and every company, in every 
residential block. Work at your organising every day, 
every hour; do that work yourselves, for this is something 
you cannot entrust to anybody else. Work to steadily, 
soundly and indestructibly build up full confidence 
in the advanced workers on the part of the masses. 
Such is the main content of all the decisions of our 
Conference. Such is the main lesson taught by the entire 



INTRODUCTION TO THE RESOLUTIONS 



317 



development of the revolution. Such is the one guarantee 
of success. 

Workers, comrades! We call upon you to carry out the 
hard, serious, untiring work of consolidating the class-con- 
scious, revolutionary proletariat of all countries. This is 
the one and only way out, the only way to save mankind 
from the horrors of war and the yoke of Capital. 



Supplement to Soldatskaya Pravda No. 13, 
May 16 (3), 1917 



Published according 

to the text 
in the Supplement 



318 



THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FRATERNISATION 

The capitalists either sneer at the fraternisation of the 
soldiers at the front or savagely attack it. By lies and slander 
they try to make out that the whole thing is "deception" 
of the Russians by the Germans, and threaten — through their 
generals and officers — punishment for fraternisation. 

From the point of view of safeguarding the "sacred right 
of property" in capital and the profits on capital, such 
policy of the capitalists is quite correct. Indeed, if the prole- 
tarian socialist revolution is to be suppressed at its inception 
it is essential that fraternisation be regarded the way the 
capitalists regard it. 

The class-conscious workers, followed by the mass of 
semi-proletarians and poor peasants guided by the true in- 
stinct of oppressed classes, regard fraternisation with pro- 
found sympathy. Clearly, fraternisation is a path to peace. 
Clearly, this path does not run through the capitalist govern- 
ments, through an alliance with them, but runs against 
them. Clearly, this path tends to develop, strengthen, and 
consolidate fraternal confidence between the workers of 
different countries. Clearly, this path is beginning to wreck 
the hateful discipline of the barrack prisons, the discipline 
of blind obedience of the soldier to "his" officers and gener- 
als, to his capitalists (for most of the officers and generals 
either belong to the capitalist class or protect its interests). 
Clearly, fraternisation is the revolutionary initiative of the 
masses, it is the awakening of the conscience, the mind, the 
courage of the oppressed classes; in other words, it is a rung 
in the ladder leading up to the socialist proletarian revolution. 

Long live fraternisation! Long live the rising world-wide 
socialist revolution of the proletariat! 



THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FRATERNISATION 



319 



In order that fraternisation achieve the goal we set it more 
easily, surely and rapidly, we must see to it that it is well 
organised and has a clear political programme. 

However much the enraged press of the capitalists and 
their friends may slander us, calling us anarchists, we 
shall never tire of repeating: we are not anarchists, we are 
ardent advocates of the best possible organisation of the 
masses and the firmest "state" power — only the state we 
want is not a bourgeois parliamentary republic, but a repub- 
lic of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies. 

We have always recommended that fraternisation be con- 
ducted in the most organised manner, taking care — with the 
help of the intelligence, experience and observation of the 
soldiers themselves — that there should be no catch in it, and 
that the officers and generals, who for the most part spread 
vicious slander against fraternisation, be kept away from 
the meetings. 

Our aim is not to have fraternisation confine itself to talk 
about peace in general, but pass on to a discussion of a 
clear political programme, to a discussion of how to end the 
war, how to throw off the yoke of the capitalists, who started 
this war and are now dragging it out. 

Our Party has therefore issued an appeal to the soldiers 
of all the belligerent countries (for the text of which see 
Pravda No. 37),* which gives a definite and precise answer 
to these questions and a clear political programme. 

It is a good thing that the soldiers are cursing the war. It 
is a good thing that they are demanding peace. It is a good 
thing that they are beginning to realise that the war is advan- 
tageous to the capitalists. It is a good thing that they are 
wrecking the harsh discipline and beginning to fraternise on 
all the fronts. All this is good. 

But it is not enough 

The soldiers must now pass to a form of fraternisation 
in which a clear political programme is discussed. We are 
not anarchists. We do not think that the war can be ended 
by a simple "refusal", a refusal of individuals, groups or cas- 
ual "crowds". We are for the war being ended, as it will be, 
by a revolution in a number of countries, i.e., by the conquest 



See pp. 186-88 of this volume.— Ed. 



320 



V. I. LENIN 



of state power by a new class, not the capitalists, not the 
small proprietors (who are always half-dependent on the 
capitalists), but by the proletarians and semi-proletarians. 

And so, in our appeal to the soldiers of all the belligerent 
countries we have set forth our programme for a workers' 
revolution in all countries, namely, the transfer of all state 
power to the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 

Comrades, soldiers, discuss this programme among your- 
selves and with the German soldiers! Such a discussion will 
help you to find the true path, the most organised and 
shortest path, to end the war and overthrow the yoke of 
Capital. 

* * 
* 

A word about one of the servants of Capital, Plekhanov. 
It is pitiful to see how low this former socialist has sunk! 
He compares fraternisation to "treachery"! His argument is: 
will not fraternisation, if it succeeds, lead to a separate peace? 

No, Mr. ex-socialist, fraternisation, which we have sup- 
ported on all the fronts, will not lead to a "separate" peace 
between the capitalists of several countries, but to a univer- 
sal peace between the revolutionary workers of all countries, 
despite the capitalists of all countries, against the capitalists, 
and for the overthrow of their yoke. 



Pravda No. 43, 
May 11 (April 28), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



321 



WHAT THE COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY STEPS 
OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT LEAD TO 

We have received the following telegram: 

"Yeniseisk. The Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies has taken 
cognisance of Minister Lvov's telegram to the appointed Commissar 
of Yeniseisk Gubernia, Krutovsky, sent to Yeniseisk for guidance. 

"We protest against the intention to reintroduce a bureaucracy. 
We declare, first, that we will not stand for being ruled by appointed 
officials. Second, there can be no return for officials who have been 
driven out by the peasants. Third, we recognise only such local bodies 
as have been set up in Yeniseisk Uyezd by the people themselves. 
Fourth, appointed officials can rule here only over our dead bodies. 

"Yeniseisk Soviet of Deputies." 

And so the Provisional Government appoints "commissars" 
from Petrograd to "direct" the activities of the Yeniseisk 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, or the Yeniseisk 
organ of self-government. What is more, this appointment is 
made in such a form as to evoke the protest of the Yeniseisk 
Soviet against "the intention to reintroduce a bureaucracy". 

Moreover, the Yeniseisk Soviet declares that "appointed 
officials can rule here only over our dead bodies". The 
behaviour of the Provisional Government has brought this 
remote uyezd in Siberia, as represented by its popularly 
elected governing body, to a point when a direct threat of 
armed resistance is made against the Provisional Government. 

The Provisional Government bosses have certainly asked 
for it! 

Yet they will go on thundering denunciations against 
those mischievous people who "preach" "civil war"! 

What was the idea of appointing "commissars" from Pet- 
rograd or from any other centre to "direct" the activities of 
the elected local body? Are we to believe that a man from 



322 



V. I. LENIN 



outside is more familiar with local needs, more capable of 
"directing" the local population? What cause did the people 
of Yeniseisk give for such an absurd measure? Even if the 
people of Yeniseisk did run counter to the decisions of a 
majority of citizens in other localities, would it not have been 
better to try, for a start, to obtain some information instead 
of giving occasion for talk about "bureaucracy", and provok- 
ing legitimate dissatisfaction and resentment on the part of 
the local population? 

To all these questions there can be only one answer. 
The representatives of the landowners and capitalists 
sitting in the Provisional Government are determined to 
preserve the old tsarist machinery of government: officials 
"appointed" from above. That is what all bourgeois parlia- 
mentary republics in the world have nearly always been 
doing, except for brief periods of revolution in some countries. 
That is what was done to prepare the ground for the return 
from a republic to a monarchy, for a return to the Napoleons, 
to the military dictators. And that is what the Cadets are 
bent on doing when they copy those unhappy examples, 

This is a very serious matter. We should not deceive our- 
selves. By such measures the Provisional Government, 
whether it means to or not, is preparing the ground for a 
restoration of the monarchy in Russia. 

The entire responsibility for any possible— and to a 
certain extent inevitable — attempt to restore the monarchy 
in Russia rests with the Provisional Government, which is 
undertaking such counter-revolutionary measures. Officials 
"appointed" from above to "direct" the local population 
have always been a sure step towards the restoration of the 
monarchy, in the same way as the standing army and the 
police. 

The Yeniseisk Soviet is a thousand times right, both 
practically and in principle. The return of local officials who 
have been driven out by the peasants should not be allowed. 
The introduction of "appointed" officials should not be 
tolerated. Only such bodies in the local areas should be recog- 
nised as have been set up by the people themselves. 

The idea of "direction" by officials "appointed" from above 
is essentially false and undemocratic, it is Caesarism, Blan- 
quist adventurism. Engels was quite right when, in criticis- 



WHAT COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY STEPS LEAD TO 323 



ing in 1891 the draft programme of the German Social-Demo- 
crats who were badly infected with bureaucratism, he pressed 
the demand for no supervision from above over local 
self-government. Engels was right when he quoted the expe- 
rience of France, which, governed between 1792 and 1798 
by local elective bodies without any supervision from above, 
did not "fall apart", did not "disintegrate", but, on the con- 
trary, gained strength, became democratically consolidated 
and organised. 94 

Foolish bureaucratic prejudices, tsarist red-tapism, reac- 
tionary professorial ideas as to the indispensability of 
bureaucratism, the counter-revolutionary tendencies and 
attempts of the landowners and capitalists — this is the 
soil which nourishes such measures of the Provisional Govern- 
ment as we have been discussing. 

The healthy democratic feeling of the workers and peasants, 
roused by the insulting attempt of the Provisional Govern- 
ment to "appoint" officials from above to "direct" the activi- 
ties of the adult local population, the overwhelming majority, 
who had elected their own representatives — this is what the 
Yeniseisk Soviet has revealed. 

What the people need is a really democratic, workers' 
and peasants' republic, whose authorities have been elected 
by the people and are displaceable by the people any time 
they may wish it. And it is for such a republic that the 
workers and peasants should fight, resisting all attempts 
of the Provisional Government to restore the monarchist, 
tsarist methods and machinery of government. 



Pravda No. 43, 
May 11 (April 28), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



324 



SOCIAL-CHAUVINISTS AND INTERNATIONALISTS 

By betraying socialism and going over to the side of 
"their own" capitalists, the social-chauvinists have naturally 
split up in conformity with the capitalist groupings in the 
war. The split itself just as naturally, is a temporary one. 
Plekhanov refuses to confer with Scheidemann, but that 
does not prevent him from defending the "International" of the 
social-chauvinists, which has betrayed socialism. In other 
words, Plekhanov is for a split with the Scheidemanns during 
the time the capitalists, whose agents they both are, are split 
up among themselves. Plekhanov is for unity with the Schei- 
demanns when the "masters" (i.e., the capitalists of both 
countries) are reconciled. There is no denying a certain con- 
sistency in Plekhanov's position — the consistency of betrayal 
of socialism, the consistency of willing and faithful service 
to the capitalists. 

No wonder the representatives of the international social- 
ist "Centre" (Kautsky and others), being as they are in favour 
of "unity" with the social-chauvinists in general, agree to the 
conference organised by that agent of Scheidemann — Borg- 
bjerg, or themselves organise (like the Executive Committee 
of the Petrograd Soviet) an international "socialist" confer- 
ence together with the Scheidemanns and Plekhanovs. No 
wonder our Russian representatives of the "Centre", through 
their mouthpiece Rabochaya Gazeta, are so angered at our 
Party's refusal to attend Borgbjerg's conference. 

Yesterday evening we received a telegram from our 
Stockholm correspondent: 

"Haase, Longuet attending conference. 'Spartacus' refused." 

The name "Spartacus" or "Internationale" is used in Ger- 
many for the group to which Karl Liebknecht belongs. 



SOCIAL-CHAUVINISTS AND INTERNATIONALISTS 



325 



There has been a great hullabaloo lately, raised by people 
who are particularly interested in upsetting the apple-cart, 
about the Liebknecht group having supposedly united with 
the Kautskyites in a new Independent Social-Democratic 
Party of Germany. 95 As a matter of fact, the Liebknecht 
group is only affiliated to the Kautskyites as an independent 
organisation and merely entered into a temporary and 
qualified bloc against the social-chauvinists. 

The telegram quoted above is one more confirmation of 
this fact. When things came to a practical point and a 
clear and definite answer had to be given immediately on the 
question of making common cause with Scheidemann and his 
agents, the alliance between Liebknecht's group and the 
Kautsky group crumbled at once. 

Some comrades feared that our resolution concerning 
Borgbjerg would "isolate" us. 

No, comrades! It isolates us from the waverers. There is 
only one way of helping waverers; and that is by ceasing 
to be a waverer yourself. 

The correctness of our resolution against Borgbjerg has 
been strikingly, fully and speedily confirmed by events. 
The Kautskyites of Germany (Haase) and Franco (Longuet) 
are still wavering. They have agreed to confer with the social- 
chauvinists and cannot make up their minds to dissociate 
themselves from them. 

In taking upon itself the initiative in bringing about such a 
cleavage, our Party has already started to rally the elements 
of a Third International. The fact that our tactics coincide 
with those of the Liebknecht group is no accident. It is a 
step towards the inchoate Third International. 



Pravda No. 44, 
May 12 (April 29), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



326 



I. G. TSERETELI AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE 

All the papers have published, in full or in part, the speech 
which I. G. Tsereteli delivered on April 27 at the ceremo- 
nial session of the deputies of all the Dumas, past and 
present. 

It was quite a ministerial speech. The speech of a minister 
without a portfolio. Still, we think there is no harm, even 
when ministers without portfolios make ministerial speeches, 
in sparing a thought for socialism, Marxism and the 
class struggle. To each his own. It behooves the bourgeoisie 
to shun all talk about the class struggle, to avoid analysing 
it, studying it, and making it a basis for determining policies. 
It behooves the bourgeoisie to dismiss these "disagreeable" 
and "tactless" subjects — as they say in parlours — and to 
sing the praises of "unity" of "all friends of freedom". It 
behooves the proletarian party not to forget the class struggle. 

To each his own. 

Two basic political ideas underlie I. G. Tsereteli's speech. 
First, that a line can and should be drawn between two "sec- 
tions" of the bourgeoisie. One section "has come to an agree- 
ment with the democrats"; the position of this bourgeoisie 
is "secure". The other consists of "irresponsible elements of 
the bourgeoisie who are provoking civil war", or, as Tsereteli 
describes them, "many people from among the moderate ele- 
ments of the property-owners". 

The speaker's second political idea is this: "Any attempt 
right now to proclaim [!?] the dictatorship of the proletariat 
and the peasantry" would be a "desperate" attempt, and he, 
Tsereteli, would agree to such a desperate attempt only if he 
could believe for one minute that Shulgin's ideas were real- 
ly "shared by all the property-owning bourgeoisie". 

Let us examine these two political ideas of I. G. Tsereteli, 
who, as befits a minister without a portfolio or a candidate 



TSERETELI AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE 



327 



for the ministry, has taken a middle-of-the-road stand — 
neither for reaction nor for revolution, neither with Shulgin 
nor with the adherents of "desperate attempts". 

What class distinctions between the two indicated sections 
of the bourgeoisie did Tsereteli make? None at all. It did not 
even occur to Tsereteli that there would be no harm in shap- 
ing policies on the basis of the class struggle. Both "sections" 
of the bourgeoisie, in class substance, are landowners and 
capitalists. Tsereteli did not mention a word about Shulgin 
not representing the same classes or sub-classes as Guchkov 
represents — the latter a member of the Provisional Govern- 
ment and an important one at that. Tsereteli singles out the 
ideas of Shulgin from those of the "entire" property-owning 
bourgeoisie, but gives no reasons for doing so. Nor could he 
give any. Shulgin stands for the undivided power of the Pro- 
visional Government; he is against supervision of that 
government by the armed soldiers; he is against "anti-British 
propaganda", against the soldiers being "set on" the "officer 
class", against the propaganda of Petrogradskaya Storona, 96 
etc. These ideas are to be found every day in the columns of 
Rech, in the speeches and manifestos of the ministers with 
portfolios, etc. 

The only difference is that Shulgin speaks more "glibly", 
while the Provisional Government, being a government, 
speaks more discreetly; Shulgin speaks in a deep voice, 
Milyukov in a falsetto. Milyukov is for an agreement with 
the Soviet, and Shulgin, too, has nothing against such an 
agreement. Both Shulgin and Milyukov are for "other meth- 
ods of control" (not control by armed soldiers). 

Tsereteli has thrown overboard all ideas of the class 
struggle. He has made no mention of class distinctions or 
any serious political distinctions between "the two sections" 
of the bourgeoisie, nor did he think of mentioning them. 

By "democrats", referred to in his speech, Tsereteli meant 
"the proletariat and the revolutionary peasantry". Let us 
examine this class definition. The bourgeoisie has entered 
into an agreement with these democrats. One is entitled to 
ask, what forms the basis of this agreement, by what class 
interests is it upheld? 

Not a word about this in Tsereteli's speech. All he speaks 
about is a "common democratic platform which has now 



328 



V. I. LENIN 



proved acceptable to the whole country", i.e., evidently to 
the proletarians and the peasants, since the "country" is 
really the workers and peasants minus the property- 
owners. 

Does this platform exclude, say, the question of the 
land? It does not. The platform side-steps it. Do class inter- 
ests and their conflicts disappear by being side-stepped in 
diplomatic documents, deeds of "agreement", and the 
speeches and statements of ministers? 

Tsereteli "forgot" to raise this question, forgot a 'trivial 
detail" — he "merely" forgot the class interests and the class 
struggle.... 

All the problems of the Russian revolution," expatiates 
I. G. Tsereteli, "the very crux of it [!?] depend on whether 
the propertied classes [i.e., the landowners and capitalists] 
will understand that this is a national platform and not a 
specially proletarian platform." 

Poor landowners and capitalists! They are so slow-witted. 
They "do not understand". They need a special minister of 
the democracy to teach them what's what. 

Maybe this spokesman of the "democrats" has forgotten 
the class struggle, has adopted the stand of Louis Blanc, and is 
dismissing the conflict of class interests with mere phrases? 

Is it Shulgin and Guchkov with Milyukov who "do not 
understand" that the peasant can be reconciled with the 
landowner on a platform that side-steps the land question? 
Or is it I. G. Tsereteli who "does not understand" that this 
cannot be done? 

The workers and peasants must confine themselves to what 
is "acceptable" to the landowners and capitalists — that 
is the real gist (the class, not the verbal, gist) of the Shulgin- 
Milyukov-Plekhanov position. And they "understand" it 
better than Tsereteli does. 

This brings us to Tsereteli' s second political idea — that the 
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry (a dictator- 
ship, by the way, is won, not "proclaimed") would be a 
desperate attempt. In the first place, to speak so simply of 
this dictatorship nowadays is likely to land Tsereteli in 
the archives of the "old Bolsheviks"* Secondly, and most 



See my "Letters on Tactics". (See pp. 45-46 of this volume. — Ed.) 



TSERETELI AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE 



329 



important of all, the workers and peasants constitute the 
vast majority of the population. And does not "democracy," 
mean carrying out the will of the majority? 

How then can one be a democrat, and yet be opposed to 
the "dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry"? 
How can one fear "civil war" from it? (What kind of civil 
war? That of a handful of landowners and capitalists against 
the workers and peasants? That of an insignificant minority 
against an overwhelming majority?) 

I. G. Tsereteli is hopelessly muddled. He has even for- 
gotten that if Lvov and Co. carry out their promise to con- 
vene the Constituent Assembly, the latter would become a 
"dictatorship" of the majority. Or must the workers and 
peasants, even in the Constituent Assembly, confine them- 
selves to what is "acceptable" to the landowners and the 
capitalists? 

The workers and peasants are the vast majority. All power 
to this majority is, if you please, a "desperate attempt" 

Tsereteli is in a muddle because he has completely over- 
looked the class struggle. He has abandoned the standpoint of 
Marxism for that of Louis Blanc, who talked himself out of 
the class struggle 

The task of a proletarian leader is to clarify the difference 
in class interests and persuade certain sections of the petty 
bourgeoisie (namely, the poor peasants) to choose between 
the workers and the capitalists, to take sides with the work- 
ers. 

The task of petty-bourgeois Louis Blancs is to play down 
the difference in class interests and persuade certain sections 
of the bourgeoisie (mainly the intellectuals and parliamentar- 
ians) to "agree with the workers, to persuade the workers to 
"agree" with the capitalists, and the peasants to "agree" with 
the landowners. 

Louis Blanc tried hard to persuade the Paris bourgeoisie, 
and, as we know, all but persuaded it to refrain from the 
mass shootings of 1848 and 1871. 



Pravda No. 44, 
May 12 (April 29), 1917 
Signed: N. Lenin 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



330 



ANXIETY 

In connection with the report that several ex-ministers 
had accepted directorships of big banks, Pravda asked: 

"In how many banks do the present ministers, Guchkov, 
Tereshchenko, and Konovalov — have an interest (in the 
capacity of directors, shareholders, or actual owners)?" 

And added: 

"Our comrades, the bank employees (who, by the way, 
should organise a union of their own as soon as possible), 
would do well to gather material on this subject and publish 
it in the labour press."* 

Alarmed by this, Birzheviye Vedomosti, a paper which, as 
we know, savours strongly of banks, writes: 

"The 'comrades employees' are asked to organise a detective ser- 
vice, to rummage about in the tills of the bourgeois ministers for the 
purpose of checking the cash in them. With the same effrontery the 
Bolsheviks are rummaging about in other people's convictions. May we 
not soon see Pravda advising the comrades to set up a secret police 
department of their own. Room for it will be found in the Kshesin- 
skaya mansion...." 

Why are the gentlemen from Birzheviye Vedomosti so 
perturbed? 

What has "detective service" got to do with it, gentle- 
men? 

We have nothing whatever against the bank employees 
publishing lists of bank bosses of all parties. Why, 



See p. 122 of this volume.— Ed. 



ANXIETY 



331 



gentlemen, shouldn't the people have a right to know who are 
the chief owners of such institutions as the banks — those 
powerful institutions on which the country's whole economic 
life depends, and which have such a say in deciding the 
issues of war and peace? 
What are you afraid of, gentlemen? 



Pravda No. 44, May 12 
(April 29), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



332 



THE "CRISIS OF POWER" 

The whole of Russia remembers the days of April 19-21, 
when civil war was about to break out in the streets of 
Petrograd. 

On April 21 the Provisional Government penned a new 
reassuring missive 97 purporting to "explain" its predatory 
Note of the 18th. 

After this the majority of the Executive Committee of 
the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies decided to 
consider the "incident settled". 

Another couple of days passed, and the question of a 
coalition cabinet cropped up. The Executive Committee was 
almost equally divided: 23 against a coalition cabinet, 
22 for it. The incident had been "settled" only on paper. 

Two more days passed, and we now have another "incident". 
War Minister Guchkov, one of the leaders of the Provisional 
Government, has resigned. There is talk of the whole Provi- 
sional Government having decided to resign. (At the time of 
writing, we still do not know for certain whether the govern- 
ment has resigned.) A new "incident" has occurred, one that 
throws all previous "incidents" into the shade. 

Whence this spate of "incidents"? Is there no root cause 
which inevitably engenders "incident" upon "incident"? 

There is such a cause. It is what we know as the dual 
power, that state of unstable equilibrium resulting from 
the agreement between the Soviet and the Provisional 
Government. 

The Provisional Government is a government of the capi- 
talists. It cannot give up its dreams of conquests (annexa- 
tions), it cannot end the predatory war by a democratic peace, 
it cannot but protect the profits of its own class (the capital- 



THE "CRISIS OF POWER" 



333 



ist class), it cannot but protect the estates of the land- 
owners. 

The Soviet represents other classes. Most of the workers 
and soldiers in the Soviet do not want this predatory war, 
they are not interested in the profits of the capitalists or 
in preserving the privileges of the landowners. At the same 
time, however, they still have faith in the Provisional 
Government of the capitalists, they are for having agreements 
with it, for keeping in contact with it. 

The Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies are them- 
selves a government in embryo. On some questions they 
attempt to exercise power parallel with the Provisional 
Government. We thus have an overlapping of power, or, as it 
is now called, a "crisis of power". 

This cannot go on for long. Such a state of affairs is bound 
every day to cause new "incidents" and fresh complications. 
It is easy enough to inscribe on a bit of paper "the incident 
is settled". In real life, however, these incidents do not 
disappear. And this for the simple reason that they are not 
"incidents" at all, they are not chance happenings, not 
trifles. They are the outward signs of a deep-rooted inner cri- 
sis. They are a result of the impasse in which humanity 
now finds itself. There can be no way out of this predatory 
war unless we accept the measures proposed by the interna- 
tionalist socialists. 

The Russian people are offered three ways of ending 
this "crisis of power". Some say: Leave things as they are, 
put still greater trust in the Provisional Government. 
The threat to resign may be a trick calculated to make the 
Soviet say: We trust you still more. The Provisional Govern- 
ment wants the Soviet to beg it: Come and rule over us; 
what shall we do without you.... 

Others propose a coalition cabinet. Let us share the minis- 
terial portfolios with Milyukov and Co., they say, let 
us get some of our own people into the cabinet; it will be 
quite another pair of shoes then. 

We propose a third way: A complete change of the So- 
viets' policy, no confidence in the capitalists, and the transfer 
of all power to the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. 
A change of personalities will give nothing; the whole policy 
must be changed. Another class must assume power. A 



334 



V. I. LENIN 



government of workers and soldiers would be trusted by the 
whole world, for everyone knows that a worker and a poor 
peasant would want to rob no one. Only this can put a speedy 
end to the war, only this can help us through the economic 
debacle. 

All power to the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies\ 
No confidence in the government of the capitalists! 

Every "incident", every day, every hour will confirm 
the soundness of this watchword. 



Pravda No. 46, 
May 15 (2), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



335 



FINLAND AND RUSSIA 

Finland's attitude to Russia has become the topic of the 
day. The Provisional Government has failed to meet the 
demand of the Finnish people, which, so far, is not for seces- 
sion, but only for broad autonomy. 

The Provisional Government's undemocratic, annexation- 
ist policy was formulated and "defended" the other day by 
Rabochaya Gazeta. It could not have made a more "damning" 
defence than it did. This is indeed a fundamental issue, an 
issue of state significance, which deserves the closest atten- 
tion. 

"The Organising Committee believes," writes Rabochaya Gazeta 
No. 42, "that the general problem of Finnish-Russian relations can and 
should be settled only by an agreement between the Finnish Diet and 
the Constituent Assembly. Pending this, the Finnish comrades [the 
Organising Committee has had talks with the Finnish Social-Demo- 
crats] should bear in mind that if separate tendencies in Finland were 
to increase, this would be likely to strengthen the centralist 
tendencies of the Russian bourgeoisie." 

That is the point of view of the capitalists, the bourgeoi- 
sie, the Cadets, but not of the proletariat. The programme of 
the Social-Democratic Party, namely, §9, which recognises 
the right of self-determination for all nation members of the 
state, has been thrown overboard by the Menshevik Social- 
Democrats. They have, in effect, renounced this programme 
and taken sides with the bourgeoisie, just as they did on the 
question of the replacement of the standing army by the 
universally armed people, and so on. 

The capitalists, the bourgeoisie, including the Cadet 
Party, never did recognise the right of nations to political 
self-determination, i.e., freedom to secede from Russia. 



336 



V. I. LENIN 



The Social-Democratic Party recognised this right in 
§9 of its programme, adopted in 1903. 

When the Organising Committee "recommended" to the 
Finnish Social-Democrats an "agreement" between the Fin- 
nish Diet and the Constituent Assembly, they were, on this 
question, taking sides with the bourgeoisie. One merely has 
to compare the positions of all the principal classes and 
parties to see the truth of this. 

The tsar, the Rights, the monarchists are not for an agree- 
ment between the Diet and the Constituent Assembly — they 
are for subjecting Finland to the Russian nation. The repub- 
lican bourgeoisie are for an agreement between the Finnish 
Diet and the Constituent Assembly. The class-conscious 
proletariat and the Social-Democrats, true to their pro- 
gramme, are for the right of Finland, as of all the other 
underprivileged nations, to secede from Russia. We have here 
a clear, precise, and indisputable picture. Under the guise of 
an "agreement", which cannot settle anything — for what are 
you going to do if an agreement is not reached? — the bour- 
geoisie is pursuing the same old tsarist policy of subjection 
and annexation. 

For Finland was annexed by the Russian tsars as the 
result of a deal with the suppressor of the French revolution, 
Napoleon, etc. If we are really against annexations, we 
should say: give Finland the right of secession] Not until this 
has been said and accomplished can an "agreement" with 
Finland be a really free and voluntary agreement, a real 
agreement, and not just a fake. 

Agreement is possible only between equals. If the agree- 
ment is to be a real agreement, and not a verbal screen for 
subjection, both parties to it must enjoy real equality 
of status, that is to say, both Russia and Finland must have 
the right to disagree. That is as clear as daylight. 

Only by "freedom of secession" can that right be expressed. 
Only when she is free to secede will Finland really be in a 
position to enter into an "agreement" with Russia as to 
whether she should secede or not. Without this condition, 
without recognising the right of secession, all phrase-monger- 
ing about an "agreement" is self-deception and deception of 
the people. 

The Organising Committee should have told the Finns 



FINLAND AND RUSSIA 



337 



plainly whether it recognises the right of secession or not. 
It befogged the issue, like the Cadets, and thereby repudiat- 
ed the right of secession. It should have attacked the Russian 
bourgeoisie for denying the oppressed nations the right to 
secede, a denial which is tantamount to annexation. Instead, 
the Organising Committee attacks the Finns and warns them 
that "separate" (they should have said separatist) tendencies 
would strengthen centralist inclinations! In other words, 
the Organising Committee threatens the Finns with the 
strengthening of the annexationist Great-Russian bourgeoi- 
sie — just what the Cadets have always done, the very guise 
under which Rodichev and Co. are pursuing their annexation- 
ist policy. 

We have here a clear and practical commentary on the 
question of annexations, which "everybody" is now talking 
about, though afraid to face the issue squarely. To be against 
the right of secession is to be for annexations. 

The tsars pursued a crude policy of annexation, barter- 
ing one nation for another by agreement with other monarchs 
(the partition of Poland, the deal with Napoleon over Fin- 
land, and so on), just like the landowners, who used to ex- 
change peasant serfs. The bourgeoisie, on turning republican, 
is carrying on the same policy of annexation, only more 
subtly, less openly, by promising an "agreement" while taking 
away the only effective guarantee of real equality in the mak- 
ing of an agreement, namely, the right of secession. The 
Organising Committee is dragging at the tail-end of the 
bourgeoisie, and in practice taking its side. (Birzhevka was 
therefore quite right in reprinting all the salient points of 
the Rabochaya Gazeta article and approving the Organising 
Committee's reply to the Finns, which it called a "lesson 
by Russian democracy" to the Finns. Rabochaya Gazeta 
deserved this kiss from Birzhevka.) 

At its conference, the party of the proletariat (the "Bol- 
sheviks") once more confirmed the right of secession in its 
resolution on the national question. 

The alignment of classes and parties is clear. 

The petty bourgeois are letting themselves be frightened 
by the spectre of a frightened bourgeoisie — that is the whole 
crux of the policy of the Menshevik Social-Democrats and 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries. They are "afraid" of secession. 



338 



V. I. LENIN 



The class-conscious proletarians are not afraid of it. Both 
Norway and Sweden gained from Norway's free secession 
from Sweden in 1905: it made for mutual trust between the 
two nations, it drew them closer together on a voluntary 
basis, it did away with the stupid and destructive friction, 
it strengthened the economic and political, the cultural and 
social gravitation of the two nations to each other, and 
strengthened the fraternal alliance between the workers of 
the two countries. 

Comrades, workers and peasants, do not be influenced 
by the annexationist policy of the Russian capitalists, 
Guchkov, Milyukov, and the Provisional Government towards 
Finland, Kurland, Ukraine, etc.! Do not fear to recognise 
the right of all these nations to secede! Nations must be 
won over to the idea of an alliance with the Great Russians 
not by force, but by a really voluntary and really free agree- 
ment, which is impossible without the right of secession. 

The freer Russia is, and the more resolutely our republic 
recognises the right of non-Great-Russian nations to secede, 
the more strongly will other nations be attracted towards an 
alliance with us, the less friction will there be, the more 
rarely will actual secession occur, the shorter the period of 
secession will last, and the closer and more enduring — in the 
long run — will the fraternal alliance be between the Russian 
proletarian and peasant republic and the republics of all 
other nations. 



Pravda No. 46, 
May 15 (2), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



339 



A LETTER TO THE EDITORS 

Yesterday the bourgeois papers again published misinfor- 
mation about my promising to address a meeting of 
delegates from the front on Sunday, April 30. I gave no such 
promise. Owing to illness I cannot speak. I would ask that 
only information published in Pravda and only statements 
signed by me should be believed, otherwise it will be impos- 
sible for me to contend with falsehood, inaccuracies and mis- 
representation. 

N. Lenin 



Pravda No. 46, 
May 15 (2), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



340 



DEFENCE OF IMPERIALISM 
CLOAKED WITH SPECIOUS PHRASES 

That is what the proclamation of the Executive Committee 
of the Petrograd Soviet to the socialists of the world, pub- 
lished in today's papers, amounts to. It has a lot to say 
against imperialism, but all these words are nullified by a 
single little phrase which reads: 

"The Provisional Government of revolutionary Russia has 
adopted this platform" (i.e., peace without annexations 
and indemnities on the basis of self-determination of 
nations). 

The gist of the matter is summed up in this one phrase. 
This phrase is a defence of Russian imperialism, which it 
cloaks and whitewashes. As a matter of fact, our Provision- 
al Government, far from "adopting" a platform of peace 
without annexations, is trampling upon it daily and hourly. 

Our Provisional Government has "diplomatically" 
renounced annexations, just as the government of the German 
capitalists, those brigands Wilhelm and Bethmann-Hollweg. 
have done. In words, both governments have renounced annex- 
ations. In practice, both continue the policy of annexations. 
The German capitalist government forcibly holds Belgium, a 
part of France, Serbia, Montenegro, Rumania, Poland. Danish 
provinces, Alsace, etc.; the Russian capitalist government 
holds part of Galicia, Turkish Armenia, Finland, Ukraine, 
etc. The British capitalist government is the most annexa- 
tionist government in the world, for it forcibly keeps the 
greatest number of nationalities within the British Empire: 
India (three hundred million), Ireland, Turkish Mesopota- 
mia, the German colonies in Africa, etc. 



DEFENCE OF IMPERIALISM 



341 



The Executive Committee's proclamation covers up its 
lies about annexations with specious phrases, and thereby 
does great harm to the cause of the proletariat and the 
revolution. First of all, the proclamation does not differen- 
tiate between the renunciation of annexations in words 
(in this sense, all capitalist governments, without excep- 
tion, have "adopted" the "platform of peace without annexa- 
tions") and renunciation of annexations in deeds (in this sense, 
not one capitalist government in the world has renounced 
annexations). Secondly, the proclamation — without any 
justification, without any basis, contrary to the truth — 
whitewashes the Russian Provisional Government of the 
capitalists, which is not a bit better (and, probably, not 
worse) than any other capitalist government. 

To cloak an unpleasant truth with a specious phrase is 
most harmful and most dangerous to the cause of the prole- 
tariat, to the cause of the toiling masses. The truth, however 
bitter, must be faced squarely. A policy that does not meet 
this requirement is a ruinous policy. 

And the truth about annexations is that all capitalist 
governments, the Russian Provisional Government included, 
are deceiving the people with promises — they renounce the 
policy of annexations in words, but continue it in deeds. 
Any intelligent person can prove this truth for himself by 
simply making up a full list of the annexations of, say, 
only three countries: Germany, Russia, and Britain. 

Just try it, gentlemen! 

By refusing to do this, by whitewashing one's own govern- 
ment and blackening others, one becomes in effect a defend- 
er of imperialism. 

In conclusion we would remark that at the end of the 
proclamation we have another fly in the ointment, namely, 
the assurance that "whatever the differences that have been 
rending socialism during the three years of war, no faction 
of the proletariat should decline to participate in the general 
struggle for peace". 

This, too, we regret to say, is a specious phrase, an utterly 
empty and meaningless one. Plekhanov and Scheidemann 
both assert that they are "fighting for peace", a "peace with- 
out annexations" at that. But it is clear to everyone that 
they are both fighting to defend each his own imperialist 



342 



V. I. LENIN 



government of the capitalists. What good do we do the 
cause of the working classes by uttering sugar-coated lies, by 
playing down the fact that the Plekhanovs and the Scbeide- 
manns have gone over to the side of their respective capital- 
ists? Is it not obvious that such glossing over of the truth 
amounts to whitewashing imperialism and its defenders? 



Pravda No. 47, 
May 16 (3), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



343 



AN UNFORTUNATE DOCUMENT 

The appeal of the Petrograd Soviet to the army published 
in yesterday's papers is a further defection of the Soviet's 
leaders, the Narodniks and Mensheviks, to the side of the 
Russian imperialist bourgeoisie. 

The incoherency of thought revealed by this appeal is 
astonishing. Only people whose heads are hopelessly stuffed 
with "revolutionary" phrases can fail to see this. 

"The working people had no need for the war. They did not start 
it. It was started by the tsars and the capitalists of all countries." 

Quite right. So far so good. And when the appeal "calls 
upon the workers and peasants of Germany and Austria- 
Hungary to rise, and make a revolution", we approve whole- 
heartedly, for this is a correct slogan. 

But how, with this indubitable truth, can one utter in 
the same breath the following flagrant untruth: 

"You [Russian soldiers] are staunchly defending not the tsar, not 
the Protopopovs and the Rasputins, not the rich landowner and capi- 
talists..." 

The words we have italicised are a patent and flagrant 
untruth. 

If the working masses "have no need" for the war, if the 
war was started not only by the tsars, but by "the capitalists 
of all countries" (as was definitely stated in the appeal issued 
by the Soviet), then, obviously, any nation involved in 
this war who tolerates a government of the capitalists 
is actually "defending" the capitalists. 

One or the other: either the Austrian and German capital- 
ists alone are to "blame" for this war; if this is what the 
Narodnik and Menshevik leaders of the Petrograd Soviet 
think, then they are sinking to the level of Plekhanov, the 



344 



V. I. LENIN 



Russian Scheidemann — in that case, the words saying that 
the war was "started by the capitalists of all countries" 
should be erased as being untrue; in that case, the slogan 
"peace without annexations" should be thrown overboard as 
being untrue, because the appropriate slogan for such a pol- 
icy would be: take the annexed territories away from the 
Germans, but keep (and extend) the territories annexed by the 
British and the Russians. 

Or this war was really started by "the capitalists of all 
countries"; if the Narodnik and Menshevik leaders of the 
Soviet do not deny this unquestionable truth, then all the 
more revolting is the lie that the Russian soldiers, so long as 
they put up with their capitalist government, are "not" 
defending the capitalists. 

In that case the Russian soldiers too (and not only the 
Austrian and the German) should be told the truth. Comrade 
soldiers, we should say to them, so long as we put up with 
our capitalist government, so long as the tsar's secret trea- 
ties are considered a holy of holies, we are carrying on an 
imperialist war of conquest, we are defending predatory trea- 
ties concluded by ex-Tsar Nicholas with the Anglo-French 
capitalists. 

That is a bitter truth. But it is the truth. The people 
should be told the truth. Only then will their eyes be opened 
and they will learn to fight against untruth. 

Look at this matter from another angle, and you will 
convince yourselves once more of the utter untruthfulness 
of the Soviet's appeal. It calls upon the German workers 
and peasants to "rise". Very well. But to rise against whom? 
Is it only against Wilhelm? 

Imagine Wilhelm replaced by the German Guchkovs and 
Milyukovs, i.e., by the representatives of the German capi- 
talist class — would this alter the predatory character of the 
war as far as Germany is concerned? Obviously, it would 
not. Everyone knows — and the Soviet's appeal admits it — 
that the war was "started by the tsars and the capitalists 
of all countries". Consequently, the overthrow of tsars, 
with power passing to the capitalists, alters nothing whatever 
as far as the nature of the war is concerned. The annexation 
of Belgium. Serbia, etc., will not cease being annexation if 
the German Cadets take the place of Wilhelm, just as the an- 



AN UNFORTUNATE DOCUMENT 



345 



nexation of Khiva, Bokhara, Armenia, Finland, Ukraine, etc., 
has not ceased being annexation because the Russian Cadets, 
the Russian capitalists, have taken the place of Nicholas. 

And finally, let us assume that the Soviet's appeal calls 
upon the German workers and peasants to rise not only 
against Wilhelm but also against the German capitalists. 
We should then say that the appeal is correct and sound. We 
fully support it. But then we should ask our esteemed fellow- 
citizens, Chernov, Chkheidze, and Tsereteli: Is it right, is it 
reasonable, is it seemly to call upon the Germans to rise 
against their capitalists, while you yourselves are supporting 
the capitalist government at home? 

Aren't you afraid, my dear fellow-citizens, that the German 
workers will accuse you of mendacity or even (God forbid) of 
hypocrisy? 

Aren't you afraid that the German workers will turn round 
and say: Our revolution has not broken out yet, we have not 
yet reached the point where our Soviets of Workers' and Sol- 
diers' Deputies can openly make arrangements with the capi- 
talists in the matter of power. If you, our Russian brothers, 
have already come to this, then why do you preach "revolt" 
to us (a thing that is painful, bloody, and difficult), while 
you yourselves refuse to take over power peacefully from Lvov 
and Co., who have expressed their willingness to relinquish 
it? You speak about the revolution in Russia, but, Citizens 
Chernov, Chkheidze, and Tsereteli, you have all studied 
socialism, and you realise only too well that so far your revo- 
lution has only put the capitalists in power. Is it not trebly 
insincere, when, in the name of the Russian revolution, which 
has given power to the Russian imperialist capitalists, you 
demand of us, Germans, a revolution against the German 
imperialist capitalists? Does it not look as if your "interna- 
tionalism", your "revolutionism" are for foreign consumption 
only; as if revolution against the capitalists is only for the 
Germans, while for the Russians (despite the seething revolu- 
tion in Russia) it is agreement with the capitalists? 

Chernov, Chkheidze, and Tsereteli have sunk completely 
to the level of defending Russian imperialism. 

It is a deplorable fact, but a fact nevertheless. 



Pravda No. 47, May 16 (3), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



346 



FRIGHTENING THE PEOPLE 
WITH BOURGEOIS TERRORS 

The capitalist newspapers, led by Rech, are falling over 
backwards in their attempt to scare the people with the bogy 
of "anarchy". Not a day passes without Rech screaming about 
anarchy, whipping up rumours and reports of casual and 
minor breaches of the law, and frightening the people with 
the bogy of a frightened bourgeoisie. 

In the wake of Rech and other capitalist papers comes 
the press of the Narodniks (including the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries) and the Mensheviks. They, too, have allowed them- 
selves to be frightened. The editorial in today's Izvestia of 
the Petrograd Soviet, whose leaders are all members of these 
parties, shows this paper to have definitely taken sides with 
the pedlars of "bourgeois terrors". It has talked itself into a 
statement, which, to put it mildly, is grossly exaggerating: 

"There is demoralisation in the army. In some places there is disor- 
derly seizure of the land, and destruction and loosing of livestock and 
farm implements. Arbitrary action is on the increase." 

By arbitrary action the Narodniks and Mensheviks, that 
is, the parties of the petty bourgeoisie, mean, among other 
things, the seizure by the peasants in the local areas of all 
the land without waiting for the Constituent Assembly. 
It was this bogy ("arbitrary action") that Minister Shingaryov 
once trotted out in his famous telegram, which was widely 
featured in the press (see Pravda No. 33).* 

Arbitrary action, anarchy — what terrifying words! But 
let any Narodnik or Menshevik who wishes to think for him- 
self consider for a minute the following question. 



See p. 134 of this volume.— Ed. 



FRIGHTENING THE PEOPLE WITH BOURGEOIS TERRORS 347 



Before the revolution the land belonged to the landowners. 
That was not called anarchy. And what did that 
lead to? It led to a break-down all along the line, to 
"anarchy" in the fullest sense of the word, i.e., to the 
utter ruin of the country, the ruin of the majority of the 
population. 

Is a way out of this conceivable other than by the widest 
application of energy, initiative and determination on the 
part of the majority of the population? Obviously, it is not. 

What does all this add up to? 

1. The tsar's supporters stand for the absolute rule of the 
landowners in the countryside and for their keeping all the 
land. They are not afraid of the "anarchy" which this actual- 
ly entailed. 

2. The Cadet Shingaryov, representing all the capital- 
ists and landowners (with the exception of a small group of 
tsarists), advocates "agricultural conciliation chambers under 
the rural supply committees for the purpose of effecting 
voluntary agreements between the tillers of the land and the 
landowners" (see his telegram). The petty-bourgeois politi- 
cians — the Narodniks and Mensheviks — are following in 
Shingaryov's footsteps when they advise the peasants "to 
wait" until the Constituent Assembly meets and when they 
call the immediate confiscation of the land by the peasants 
in the local areas "anarchy". 

3. The party of the proletariat (the Bolsheviks) stands for 
the immediate seizure of the land by the peasants in the 
local areas and recommends the greatest possible degree of 
organisation. We see no "anarchy" in this, for it is this deci- 
sion, and this decision alone, that happens to be a majority 
decision of the local population. 

Since when has a majority decision come to be called 
"anarchy"? Would it not be more correct to apply this 
appellation to the minority decision which both the tsarists 
and Shingaryov are proposing in various forms? 

When Shingaryov tries to force the peasants into a 
"voluntary" "reconciliation" with the landowners, he is 
imposing a minority decision, because there is an average of 
300 peasant families in Russia to every one family of the 
big landowners. If I tell three hundred families to come to a 
"voluntary" "agreement" with one family of a rich exploiter, 



348 



V. I. LENIN 



I am offering a decision in favour of the minority, and that 
means anarchy. 

In raising this hullabaloo about "anarchy", you capi- 
talists are trying to disguise the fact that you stand for the 
interests of the one against those of the three hundred. This 
is the crux of the matter. 

We may be told; But you want to have the matter decided 
by the local people alone, without waiting for the Constitu- 
ent Assembly! And that is anarchy! 

To this we reply: And what does Shingaryov want? He, 
too, wants the matter settled locally (by a "voluntary agree- 
ment" between the peasants and the landowners) without 
waiting for the Constituent Assembly! 

On this point Shingaryov and we do not differ — we are 
both for a final decision by the Constituent Assembly and 
a preliminary decision — to be enforced — by the local people. 
We differ with Shingaryov only in saying that 300 shall 
decide and 1 shall submit, whereas Shingaryov says: if the 
300 decide, that will be "arbitrary action", so let the 300 
"agree" with the 1. 

How low the Narodniks and Mensheviks must have fal- 
len to help Shingaryov and Co. spread bourgeois terrors. 

Fear of the people — that is what these alarmists and panic- 
mongers are actuated by. 

There is no reason to fear the people. The decision of the 
majority of workers and peasants is not anarchy. Such a 
decision is the only possible guarantee of democracy in 
general, and of success in the search for effective ways of 
combating the debacle in particular. 



Written May 3 (16), 1917 
Published May 17 (4), 1917 
in Pravda No. 48 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



349 



ON THE EVE 

The "conciliation" machine is working at full speed. The 
Narodniks and Mensheviks are toiling in the sweat of their 
brow, making up a new list of ministers. We are on the eve of 
a "new" cabinet.... 

Alas! It will not be very new. The government of the 
capitalists will have a few petty-bourgeois ministers tacked 
on to it in the shape of Narodniks and Mensheviks who have 
allowed themselves to be lured to the support of the impe- 
rialist war. 

We shall have more phrase-mongering, more fireworks, 
more lavish promises and bombast about "peace without 
annexations" — but no desire whatever to even enumerate 
frankly, precisely and truthfully the actual annexations 
effected, say, by three countries: Germany, Russia, and 
Britain. 

How long, gentlemen of the old and the new cabinets, 
can one deceive oneself with the utopia that the peasants 
will support the capitalists (the well-to-do peasants are not 
the whole of the peasantry), with the utopia of an "offensive" 
at the front (in the name of "peace without annexations")? 



Pravda No. 49, 
May 18 (5), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



350 



THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THE MAIN THING 

THE MUNICIPAL PLATFORM OF THE PROLETARIAN PARTY 

Elections to the district councils being close at hand, 
the two petty-bourgeois democratic parties, the Narodniks 
and the Mensheviks, have come out with high-sounding 
platforms. These platforms are exactly the same as those 
of the European bourgeois parties who are engaged in angling 
for the gullible uneducated mass of voters from among the 
petty proprietors, etc., such as, for instance, the platform 
of the Radical and Radical-Socialist Party of France. 98 
The same specious phrases, the same lavish promises, the 
same vague formulations, the same silence on or forgetful- 
ness of the main thing, namely, the actual conditions on 
which the practicability of these promises depends. 

At present these conditions are: (1) the imperialist war; 
(2) the existence of a capitalist government; (3) the impossibil- 
ity of seriously improving the condition of the workers and 
the whole mass of working people without revolutionary 
encroachment on the "sacred right of capitalist private prop- 
erty"; (4) the impossibility of carrying out the reforms 
promised by these parties while the old organs and machinery 
of government remain intact, while there exists a police 
force which is bound to back the capitalists and put a thou- 
sand and one obstacles in the way of such reforms. 

For example: "House rents in war time to be controlled", 
"such stocks to be requisitioned for the public needs" (that 
is, stocks of foodstuffs kept in stores or by private individu- 
als), "communal stores, bakeries, canteens, and kitchens to 
be organised" — write the Mensheviks. "Proper attention to be 
paid to sanitation and hygiene," echo the Narodniks (the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries). 



THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THE MAIN THING 



351 



Excellent wishes, to be sure. The trouble is that they 
cannot be carried out unless one stops supporting the impe- 
rialist war, stops supporting the loan (which is profitable to 
the capitalists), stops supporting the capitalist government, 
which safeguards capitalist profits, stops preserving the 
police, who are bound to obstruct, thwart, and kill any such 
reform, even if the government and the capitalists themselves 
did not present an ultimatum to the reformers (and they 
certainly will, once capitalist profits are involved). 

The trouble is that once we forget the harsh and rigid condi- 
tions of capitalist domination, then all such platforms, all such 
lists of sweeping reforms are empty words, which in practice 
turn out to be either harmless "pious wishes", or simple 
hoodwinking of the masses by ordinary bourgeois politicians. 

We must face the truth squarely. We must not gloss 
it over, we must tell it to people in a straightforward manner. 
We must not brush the class struggle under the carpet, but 
clarify what relation it bears to the high-sounding, specious, 
delightful "radical" reforms. 

Comrade workers, and all other citizens of Petrograd! 
In order to give the people all those pressing and essential 
reforms of which the Narodniks and the Mensheviks speak, 
one must throw over the policy of support for the imperial- 
ist war and war loans, support for the capitalist govern- 
ment and for the principle of the inviolability of capitalist 
profits. To carry out those reforms, one must not allow the 
police to be reinstated, as the Cadets are now doing, but have 
it replaced by a people's militia. This is what the party of 
the proletariat should tell the people at elections, this is what 
it must say against the petty-bourgeois parties of the Narod- 
niks and the Mensheviks. This is the essence of the proletari- 
an municipal platform that is being glossed over by the 
petty-bourgeois parties. 

Foremost in this platform, topping the list of reforms, 
there must be, as a basic condition for their actual realisa- 
tion, the following three fundamental points: 

1. No support for the imperialist war (either in the form 
of support for the war loan, or in any other form). 

2. No support to the capitalist government. 

3. No reinstatement of the police, which must be replaced 
by a people's militia. 



352 



V. I. LENIN 



Unless attention is focused on those cardinal questions, 
unless it is shown that all municipal reforms are contingent 
upon them, the municipal programme inevitably becomes 
(at best) a pious wish. 

Let us examine point 3. 

In all bourgeois republics, even the most democratic, the 
police (like the standing army) is the chief instrument of 
oppression of the masses, an instrument making for a possible 
restoration of the monarchy. The police beats up the "com- 
mon people" in the police stations of New York, Geneva, 
and Paris; it favours the capitalists either because it is 
bribed to do so (America and other countries), or because it 
enjoys wealthy "patronage" and "protection" (Switzerland), 
or because of a combination of both (France). Separated as it 
is from the people, forming a professional caste of men trained 
in the practice of violence upon the poor, men who receive 
somewhat higher pay and the privileges that go with author- 
ity (to say nothing of "gratuities"), the police everywhere, in 
every republic, however democratic, where the bourgeoi- 
sie is in power, always remains the unfailing weapon, the 
chief support and protection of the bourgeoisie. No important 
radical reforms in favour of the working masses can be imple- 
mented through the police. That is objectively impossible. 

A people's militia instead of the police force and the 
standing army is a prerequisite of effective municipal 
reforms in the interests of the working people. At a time 
of revolution this prerequisite is practicable. And it is on 
this that we must concentrate the whole municipal platform, 
for the other two cardinal conditions apply to the state as a 
whole, and not only to municipal governments. 

Just how this people's militia can be brought into exist- 
ence is something which experience will show. To enable the 
proletarians and semi-proletarians to serve in this militia, 
the employers must be made to pay them their full wages 
for the days and hours they spend in service. This is practi- 
cable. Whether we should first organise a workers' militia by 
drawing upon the workers employed at the large factories, 
i.e., the workers who are best organised and most capable of 
fulfilling the task of militiamen, or whether we should 
immediately organise general compulsory service for all 
adult men and women, who would devote to this service one 



THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THE MAIN THING 



353 



or two weeks a year and so on, is not a question of fundamen- 
tal importance. There is no harm in the different districts 
adopting different procedures — in fact, it would make for 
richer experience, and the process of organisation would 
develop more smoothly and come closer to life's practical 
requirements. 

A people's militia would mean education of the masses 
in the practices of democracy. 

A people's militia would mean government of the poor 
by the people themselves, chiefly by the poor, and not by 
the rich, not through their police. 

A people's militia would mean that control (over facto- 
ries, dwellings, the distribution of products, etc.) would be 
real and not merely on paper. 

A people's militia would mean distribution without any 
bread queues, without any privileges for the rich. 

A people's militia would mean that quite a number of the 
serious and radical reforms listed also by the Narodniks 
and the Mensheviks would not remain mere pious wishes. 

Comrades, working men and women of Petrograd! Go to 
the district council elections. Protect the interests of the 
poor population. Come out against the imperialist war, 
against support of the capitalist government, against the 
restoration of the police and for the immediate unqualified 
replacement of the police by a people's militia. 



Pravda No. 49, 
May 18 (5), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



354 



MANDATE TO DEPUTIES OF THE SOVIET 
ELECTED AT FACTORIES AND REGIMENTS 

(1) Our Deputy must be unconditionally opposed to the 
present predatory imperialist war. This war is waged by 
the capitalists of all countries — Russia, Germany, Britain, 
etc. — for profits, and the subjugation of the weak 
nations. 

(2) So long as a capitalist government is at the head of the 
Russian nation, there must be no support for the government, 
which is carrying on a predatory war — not by a single 
kopek! 

(3) Our Deputy must stand for the immediate publication 
of the secret predatory treaties (relating to the subjugation 
of Persia, the partition of Turkey, Austria, etc.), which ex- 
Tsar Nicholas concluded with the capitalists of Britain, 
France, etc. 

(4) Our Deputy must stand for the immediate abrogation 
of all these treaties. The Russian people, the workers and the 
peasants, do not wish to oppress and will not oppress 
any nation; they do not wish to and will not hold by force 
within the boundaries of Russia a single non-Russian 
(non-Great-Russian) nation. Freedom for all the peoples, 
a fraternal union of the workers and peasants of all 
nationalities! 

(5) Our Deputy must stand for the Russian Government 
offering openly, immediately and unconditionally, without 
equivocation and without the least delay, terms of peace 
to all the belligerent countries on the basis of freedom for 
all the oppressed or underprivileged nationalities without 
exception. 



MANDATE TO DEPUTIES 



355 



This means that the Great Russians shall not forcibly 
retain either Poland, or Kurland, or Ukraine, or Finland, or 
Armenia, or any other nation. The Great Russians offer a 
fraternal union to all the nations and propose the formation 
of a common state by voluntary consent of each individual 
people, and under no circumstances by means of violence, 
direct or indirect. The Great Russians, under the terms of such 
a peace, undertake immediately to withdraw their troops 
from Galicia, from Armenia, and from Persia, and to allow 
these nations and all other nations without exception freely 
to decide whether they wish to live as a separate state, or in 
union with whomsoever they please. 

Germany, by the terms of such a peace, must not only 
relinquish all the territories she has seized since the begin- 
ning of the war, but also release the peoples she is keeping 
by force within the boundaries of Germany, namely, the 
Danes (Schleswig), the French (part of Alsace and Lorraine), 
the Poles (Poznan), etc. Germany must undertake immedi- 
ately, and simultaneously with Russia, to withdraw her troops 
from all the regions she has seized, as well as from all the 
regions mentioned above, and allow each nation to decide 
freely, by a popular vote, whether it wishes to live as a sepa- 
rate state, or in union with whomsoever it pleases. Germany 
must unconditionally and unequivocally relinquish all her 
colonies, for colonies are oppressed peoples. 

Britain, by the terms of such a peace, must relinquish, 
immediately and unconditionally, not only the territories 
she has seized from others (the German colonies in Africa, 
etc., the Turkish lands, Mesopotamia, etc.), but all her own 
colonies as well. Britain, like Russia and Germany, must 
immediately withdraw her troops from all the territories she 
has seized, from her colonies, and also from Ireland, and let 
each nation decide by a free vote whether it wants to live as 
a separate state, or in union with whomsoever it wishes. 

And so on: all the belligerent countries, without excep- 
tion, must receive an offer to conclude an immediate peace on 
these clearly defined terms. The capitalists of all countries 
should no longer deceive the peoples by promising "peace 
without annexations" while holding on to their own annexed 
territories and continuing the war in order to wrest from the 
enemy "his own" annexed territories. 



356 



V. I. LENIN 



(6) Our Deputy must not give any support, or vote for 
any loan, or give a kopek of the people's money to any 
government that does not solemnly undertake immediately 
to offer to all the nations these terms for an immediate 
peace and to publish this offer within two days for every- 
body's information. 

Written before May 7 (20), 1917 

First published in 1925 Published according 

in Lenin Miscellany IV to the manuscript 



357 



CLASS COLLABORATION WITH CAPITAL, 
OR CLASS STRUGGLE AGAINST CAPITAL? 

That is how history puts the issue — and not history 
in general, but the economic and political history of the 
Russia of today. 

The Narodniks and Mensheviks, Chernov and Tsereteli, 
have transferred the Contact Commission from the room 
adjacent to the one the ministers used to meet in to the 
ministerial chamber itself. This, and this alone, is the 
purely political significance of the "new" cabinet. 

Its economic and class significance is that, at the best 
(from the point of view of the stability of the cabinet and the 
preservation of capitalist domination), the leadership of the 
peasant bourgeoisie, headed since 1906 by Peshekhonov, and 
the petty-bourgeois "leaders" of the Menshevist workers have 
promised the capitalists their class collaboration. (At the 
worst — for the capitalists — the whole change has a purely 
personal or clique significance, but no class significance 
at all.) 

Let us assume that the more favourable eventuality is 
the case. Even so, there is not a shadow of doubt that the prom- 
isers will be unable to fulfil their promises. "We shall — 
in co-operation with the capitalists — help the country out of 
its crisis, save it from ruin and get it out of the war" — that is 
what the action of the petty-bourgeois leaders, the Chernovs 
and Tseretelis, in joining the cabinet really amounts to. 
Our answer is: Your help is not enough. The crisis has 
advanced infinitely farther than you imagine. Only the revolu- 
tionary class, by taking revolutionary measures against 



358 



V. I. LENIN 



capital, can save the country — and not our country 
alone. 

The crisis is so profound, so widespread, of such vast 
world-wide scope, and so closely bound up with Capital 
itself, that the class struggle against Capital must inevitably 
assume the form of political supremacy by the proletariat 
and semi-proletariat. There is no other way out. 

You want to have revolutionary enthusiasm in the army, 
Citizens Chernov and Tsereteli? But you cannot create 
it, because the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses is 
not begotten by a change of "leaders" in cabinets, by florid 
declarations, or by promises to take steps to revise the treaty 
with the British capitalists; it can be aroused only by acts 
of revolutionary policy patent to all and undertaken daily 
and everywhere against almighty Capital and against its 
making profits out of the war, a policy that will make for a 
radical improvement in the standard of living of the mass of 
the poor. 

Even if you were to hand over all the land to the people 
immediately, this would not end the crisis unless revolution- 
ary measures were taken against Capital. 

You want an offensive, Citizens Chernov and Tsereteli? 
But you cannot rouse the army to an offensive, because you 
cannot use force against the people today. And unless force 
is used against them the people would undertake an offensive 
only in the great interests of the great revolution against 
Capital in all countries; and not merely a revolution prom- 
ised and proclaimed, but a revolution actually in process of 
realisation, a revolution which is being carried out in actual 
fact, and is tangible to all. 

You want to organise supply, Citizens Peshekhonovs and 
Skobelevs, the supply of goods for the peasants, of bread and 
meat for the army, of raw material for industry, and so 
forth? You want control over, and partly even the organisa- 
tion of, production? 

You cannot do this without the revolutionary enthusiasm 
of the proletarian and semi-proletarian mass. This enthusi- 
asm can be aroused only by taking revolutionary measures 
against the privileges and profits of Capital. Failing this, 
your promised control will remain a dead, capitalist, bureau- 
cratic palliative. 



CLASS COLLABORATION WITH CAPITAL 



359 



The experiment at class collaboration with Capital is now 
being made by the Chernovs and Tseretelis, and by certain 
sections of the petty bourgeoisie, on a new, gigantic, all- 
Russia scale. 

All the more valuable will be its lessons for the people, 
when the latter become convinced — and that apparently will 
be soon — of the futility and hopelessness of such collabora- 
tion. 



Pravda No. 50, 
May 19 (6), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



360 



A STRONG REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT 

We are for a strong revolutionary government. Whatever 
the capitalists and their flunkeys may shout about us to the 
contrary, their lies will remain lies. 

The thing is not to let phrases obscure one's consciousness, 
disorient one's mind. When people speak about "revolu- 
tion", "the revolutionary people", "revolutionary democracy", 
and so on, nine times out of ten this is a lie or self-deception. 
The question is — what class is making this revolution? A 
revolution against whom? 

Against tsarism? In that sense most of Russia's landowners 
and capitalists today are revolutionaries. When the revolu- 
tion is an accomplished fact, even reactionaries come into 
line with it. There is no deception of the masses at present 
more frequent, more detestable, and more harmful than that 
which lauds the revolution against tsarism. 

Against the landowners? In this sense most of the peasants, 
even most of the well-to-do peasants, that is, probably nine- 
tenths of the population in Russia, are revolutionaries. 
Very likely, some of the capitalists, too, are prepared to 
become revolutionaries on the grounds that the landowners 
cannot be saved anyway, so let us better side with the revo- 
lution and try to make things safe for capitalism. 

Against the capitalists? Now that is the real issue. That 
is the crux of the matter, because without a revolution 
against the capitalists, all that prattle about "peace without 
annexations" and the speedy termination of the war by such 
a peace is either naivete and ignorance, or stupidity and de- 
ception. But for the war, Russia could have gone on living 
for years and decades without a revolution against the capi- 
talists. The war has made that objectively impossible. 
The alternatives are either utter ruin or a revolution against 
the capitalists. That is how the question stands. That is how 
the very trend of events poses it. 



A STRONG REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT 



361 



Instinctively, emotionally, and by attraction, the bulk 
of Russia's population, namely, the proletarians and semi- 
proletarians, i.e., the workers and poor peasants, are in 
sympathy with a revolution against the capitalists. So 
far, however, there is no clear consciousness of this, and, as a 
result, no determination. To develop these is our chief task. 

The leaders of the petty bourgeoisie — the intellectuals, the 
prosperous peasants, the present parties of the Narodniks (the 
S.R.s included) and the Mensheviks — are not at present in 
favour of a revolution against the capitalists and some of 
them are even opposed to it, greatly to the detriment of the 
people's cause. The coalition cabinet is the kind of "experi- 
ment" that is going to help the people as a whole to quickly 
discard the illusion of petty-bourgeois conciliation with the 
capitalists. 

The conclusion is obvious: only assumption of power by 
the proletariat, backed by the semi-proletarians, can give the 
country a really strong and really revolutionary government. 
It will be really strong because it will be supported by a solid 
and class-conscious majority of the people. It will be strong 
because it will not, of necessity, have to be based on a precari- 
ous "agreement" between capitalists and small proprietors, 
between millionaires and petty bourgeoisie, between 
the Konovalovs-Shingaryovs and the Chernovs-Tseretelis. 

It will be a truly revolutionary government, the only 
one capable of showing the people that at a time when untold 
suffering is inflicted upon the masses it will not be awed and 
deterred by capitalist profits. It will be a truly revolutionary 
government because it alone will be capable of evoking and 
sustaining the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses 
and increasing it tenfold, provided the masses, every day and 
every hour, see and feel that the government believes in the 
people, is not afraid of them, that it helps the poor to improve 
their lot right now, that it makes the rich bear an equal 
share of the heavy burden of the people's suffering. 

We are for a strong revolutionary government. 

We are for a strong revolutionary government because 
it is the only possible and the only reliable government. 



Pravda No. 50, 
May 19 (6), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



362 



TITBITS FOR THE "NEWBORN" GOVERNMENT" 

From a Rech editorial, penned with an air of heavy 
gravity: 

"Let us hope that no great shocks to our relations with the Allies 
will be needed to prove to the supporters of the formula 'without annex- 
ations or indemnities' [read: to the new government] that it is 
impracticable." 

They are right, the capitalists for whom Rech speaks. The 
formula is indeed "impracticable" ... unless a revolution 
against capital is put into practice! 

* * 
* 

From a speech by Milyukov, who didn't resign, but got 
the sack: 

"Whatever noble formulas of friendship for the Allies we may 
devise, once our army remains inactive, we shall merely be shirking our 
obligations. And vice versa, whatever terrible formulas betraying our 
loyalties we may devise, once our army is actually fighting, then that, 
of course, will be actual fulfilment of our obligations towards the 
Allies." 

Correct! He knows what he is talking about sometimes, 
does Citizen Milyukov! Citizens Chernov and Tsereteli, 
don't you realise what inference is to be drawn from this as 
regards your actual attitude towards the imperialist war? 

* * 
* 

From a speech by Shulgin at a meeting of the rallying 
counter-revolution: 

"We prefer to be beggars, but beggars in our own country. If you 
can preserve that country and keep it safe for us, then take our last 
shirt from us, we shall shed no tear." 



TIDBITS FOR "NEWBORN" GOVERNMENT 



363 



Don't try to frighten us, Mr. Shulgin. Even when we 
are in power we shall not take your "last shirt" from you, 
but shall see that you are provided with good clothes and 
good food, on condition that you do the job you are fit for 
and used to! You can frighten the Chernovs and the Tsere- 
telis, but you can't frighten us. 

* * 
* 

From a speech by Maklakov at the same meeting (of "mem- 
bers of the Duma"): 

"Russia has proved unworthy of the freedom she has won." 

Read: the workers and peasants have failed to satisfy the 
Maklakovs. These gentlemen want the Chernovs and Tsere- 
telis to "reconcile" the masses with the Maklakovs. It won't 
work! 

* * 
* 

From the same speech: 

"Many people can be blamed, but we, in Russia, can't do without 
the bourgeoisie or the proletariat, without the various currents or the 
various individuals." 

We beg your pardon, Citizen Maklakov, but "we" (the 
party of the proletariat) "can do without the bourgeoisie" 
"in Russia". Time will show you and make you admit that 
there was no other way out of the imperialist war. 

* * 
* 

From the same speech: 

"We see a mass of evil instincts which have risen to the surface: 
we see a reluctance to work, reluctance to recognise one's duty to one's 
country. We see that at a time of cruel warfare this country has become 
a land of festivities, meetings and talk, a country that does not recog- 
nise authority and refuses to obey it." 

Correct! A mass of "evil instincts", especially among the 
landowners and the capitalists. The petty bourgeois has evil 
instincts, too: for instance, the instinct that drives him into 
a coalition cabinet with capitalists. The proletarians and 
semi-proletarians have evil instincts, too: for example, 
they are slow in discarding petty-bourgeois illusions, slow 



364 



V. I. LENIN 



in coming to the conclusion that all "power" must be take 
over by this class, and this class alone. 

* * 
* 

From the same speech: 

"The government will move steadily leftward, while the country 
will move farther and farther to the right." 

By "the country" Maklakov means the capitalists. In 
this sense he is right. But "the country" of the workers 
and the poor peasants, I assure you, Citizen Maklakov, is 
a thousand times more leftward than the Chernovs and the 
Tseretelis, and a hundred times more leftward than we are. 
The future will prove this to you. 



Pravda No. 50, 
May 19 (6), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



365 



ALREADY THE "NEW" GOVERNMENT IS LAGGING 
BEHIND EVEN THE PEASANT MASS, 
LEAVE ALONE THE REVOLUTIONARY 
WORKERS 

Here is the evidence: 

The evening edition of Russkaya Volya* (Russian Free- 
dom indeed!) for May 4 has this to report about the feeling 
prevailing among the delegates to the Peasant Congress, 
which is now in session. 

"The delegates' main grievance, voiced on behalf of the peasants, 
is that while all classes are already reaping the fruits of the revolution 
the peasants alone are still waiting for their share. The peasants alone 
are told to wait until the Constituent Assembly meets and settles the 
land question. 

"'We don't agree,' they say. 'We're not going to wait, just as 
others have not waited. We want the land now, at once.'" 

There is no doubt that the reporter of Russkaya Volya, 
a paper that serves the worst of the capitalists, is not slander- 
ing the peasants in this case (there is no sense in lying), 
but is telling the truth, is warning the capitalists. All the 
news coming from the Congress confirms this truth. 

Compare this truth with §5 of the "new" government's 
draft declaration: 

"While leaving it to the Constituent Assembly to settle 
the question of transferring the land to the working people, 
the Provisional Government will take ... measures," etc. 
(the "old" Provisional Government also kept on "taking 
measures"...). 



Russkaya Volya means Russian Freedom. See Note No. 4. — Ed. 



366 



V. I. LENIN 



The "new" government is already lagging hopelessly behind 
even the Peasant Congress! 

This is a fact, surprising though it may be to many. 
And facts are stubborn things, as the English say. 



Pravda No. 50, 
May 19 (6), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



367 



STEALING A MARCH ON THE WORKERS 

Yesterday, May 5, two of the big dailies — Dyelo Naroda 
and Rech — carried an announcement on their front pages, 
later reprinted in the Guchkov-Suvorin evening paper 
Vecherneye Vremya, 100 which deserves serious attention. 

The public is informed that "in accordance with an agree- 
ment between the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies 
and the Union of Engineers, as authorised by the Provisional 
Government", there has been organised in Petrograd a "Cen- 
tral Committee for restoring and maintaining normal work in 
the industrial enterprises". 

"The main task of the Central Committee," the announcement reads, 
"is to work out and co-ordinate all measures aimed at restoring and 
maintaining normal work in the industrial enterprises and to organise 
regular and active public control over all industrial enterprises." 

The words "public control" were italicised in the announce- 
ment. 

They remind one of the Senate and other bureaucratic 
committees of the good old tsarist days. No sooner had some 
knave of a tsar's minister, governor, marshal of the nobil- 
ity, etc., been caught red-handed at some thievery, no sooner 
had some institution directly or indirectly connected with 
the tsar's government conspicuously disgraced itself through- 
out Russia or throughout Europe, than a high commission 
of "personages" notable and super-notable, high-ranking 
and super-ranking, rich and super-rich was appointed to 
"appease public opinion". 

And these personages usually managed to "appease" pub- 
lic opinion with conspicuous success. The more high-sound- 
ing the phrases about our wise tsar salving "the popular 



368 



V. I. LENIN 



conscience" the more effectively did these men kill the idea 
of any "public control". 

So it was, so it will be, one feels like saying as one reads 
the pompously worded announcement about the new 
Central Committee. 

The capitalists have decided to steal a march on the work- 
ers. There is a growing consciousness among the workers 
that a proletarian control over factories and syndicates is 
necessary. The master minds of the business world from among 
ministerial and near-ministerial circles have had a "brain 
wave" — to forestall events and take the Soviet in tow. This 
should not be difficult, they thought, so long as the Narod- 
niks and Mensheviks are still in control there. We'll fix 
up "public control", they said to themselves. It will look so 
important, so statesmanlike, so ministeriable, so solid. 
And it will kill all possible real control, all proletarian 
control so effectively, so quietly. A brilliant idea! The 
"popular conscience" will be completely "salved". 

How is this new Central Committee to be composed? 

Why, on democratic lines, of course. Are we not all "revo- 
lutionary democrats"? If anyone thinks that democracy 
requires 20 representatives from 200,000 workers and one 
representative from 10,000 engineers, capitalists, etc., that 
would be an "anarchist" delusion. No, true democracy con- 
sists in imitating the way in which "revolutionary democracy" 
has composed its "new" government, where the workers and 
peasants are "represented" by six Mensheviks and Narodniks 
while eight Cadets and Octobrists represent the landowners 
and the capitalists. Do not the latest statistical surveys now 
being completed by the new Ministry of Labour by arrange- 
ment with the old Ministry of Industry prove that the major- 
ity of Russia's population belongs to the class of land- 
owners and capitalists? 

Here, if you please, is a complete list of "representatives" 
of the organisations that have been included in the new 
Central Committee by agreement between "revolutionary 
democracy" and the government. 

The Central Committee is composed of representatives 
from the following organisations: (1) The Executive Commit- 
tee of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies; (2) 
The Provisional Committee of the Duma; (3) The All-Russia 



STEALING A MARCH ON THE WORKERS 



369 



Union of Zemstvos; (4) The All-Russia Union of Cities; (5) 
The Petrograd Municipal Administration; (6) The Union of 
Engineers; (7) The Soviet of Officers' Deputies; (8) The Coun- 
cil of Congresses of Representatives of Industry and Com- 
merce; (9) The Petrograd Society of Factory Owners; (10) The 
Central War Industries Committee; (11) The Central Commit- 
tee of Zemstvo and City Unions for Army Supply; (12) The 
Committee of Technical War Aid; (13) The Free-Economic 
Society. 

And that's all? 

Yes, that's all. 

Is that not sufficient for salving the popular conscience? 

Yes, but what if some big bank or syndicate of capital- 
ists is represented five or ten times through its share- 
holders in these ten or twelve institutions? 

Oh, why quibble about "details", when the main thing 
is to secure "a regular and active public control" \ 



Written May 6 (19), 1917 

Published May 20 (7), 1917 
in Pravda No. 61 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



370 



AN OPEN LETTER TO THE DELEGATES 
TO THE ALL-RUSSIA CONGRESS 
OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 

Comrades, peasant deputies, 

The Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic 
Labour Party (Bolsheviks), to which I have the honour to 
belong, wanted me to represent our Party at the Peasant 
Congress, but illness has prevented me from carrying out 
this commission. I therefore take the liberty of addressing 
this open letter to you in order to greet the all-Russia union 
of the peasantry and briefly to point out the deep-seated 
differences that divide our Party on the one hand and the 
party of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Menshevik 
Social-Democrats on the other. 

These profound differences, concern the three most impor- 
tant issues: the land, the war, and state organisation. 

All the land must belong to the people. All the landed 
estates must be turned over to the peasants without compen- 
sation. This is clear. The dispute here is whether or not the 
peasants in the local areas should take all the land at once, 
without paying any rent to the landowners, or wait until 
the Constituent Assembly meets. 

Our Party believes that they should, and advises the peas- 
ants locally to take over all the land without delay, and 
to do it in as organised a way as possible, under no circum- 
stances allowing damage to property and exerting every effort 
to increase the production of grain and meat since the troops 
at the front are in dire straits. In any case, although the final 
decision on how to dispose of the land will be made by the 
Constituent Assembly, a preliminary settlement now, at 
once, in time for the spring sowing, can be made only by 



OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



371 



local bodies, inasmuch as our Provisional Government, 
which is a government of the landowners and capital- 
ists, is putting off the convocation of the Constituent 
Assembly and so far has not even fixed a date for it. 

Only local bodies are able preliminarily to take 
charge of the land. The fields must be sown to crops. Most 
of the peasants in the local areas are quite capable of making 
use of the land in an organised way, of ploughing and putting 
it all under crops. This is essential if the supply of food to 
the soldiers at the front is to be improved. Hence, to wait 
for the Constituent Assembly is out of the question. We by no 
means deny the right of the Constituent Assembly finally 
to institute public ownership of the land and to regulate its 
disposal. In the meantime, however, right now, this spring, 
the peasants themselves must decide locally what to do with 
it. The soldiers at the front can and should send delegates to 
the villages. 

Further. For all the land to pass over to the working people, 
a close alliance of the urban workers and the poor peas- 
ants (semi-proletarians) is essential. Unless such an alliance 
is formed, the capitalists cannot be defeated. And if they 
are not defeated, no transfer of the land to the people will 
deliver them from poverty. You cannot eat land, and 
without money, without capital, there is no way of obtaining 
implements, livestock, or seed. The peasants must trust not 
the capitalists or the rich muzhiks (who are capitalists too), 
but only the urban workers. Only in alliance with the latter 
can the poor peasants ensure that the land, the railways, the 
banks, and the factories become the property of all the working 
people; if this is not done, the mere transfer of the land to 
the people cannot abolish want and pauperism. 

Workers in certain localities in Russia are already begin- 
ning to establish their supervision (control) over the facto- 
ries. Such control by the workers is to the peasants' advan- 
tage, for it means increased production and cheaper products. 
The peasants must give their fullest support to this initiative 
on the part of the workers and not believe the slander which 
the capitalists spread against the workers. 

The second question is the question of the war. 

This war is a war of conquest. It is being waged by the 
capitalists of all countries with predatory aims, to increase 



372 



V. I. LENIN 



their profits. To the working people this war can spell only 
ruin, suffering, devastation, and brutalisation. That is why 
our Party, the party of class-conscious workers and poor 
peasants, emphatically and unqualifiedly condemns this 
war, refuses to justify the capitalists of the one country as 
against the capitalists of another, refuses to support the 
capitalists of any country whatever, and is working for the 
speediest termination of the war through the overthrow of the 
capitalists in all countries, through a workers' revolution 
in all countries. 

In our new Provisional Government, there are ten minis- 
ters belonging to the landowner and capitalist parties and 
six to the Narodnik (Socialist-Revolutionary) and Menshe- 
vik Social-Democratic parties. In our opinion the Narodniks 
and Mensheviks have made a grave and fatal mistake in 
joining the capitalist government and in general agreeing 
to support it. Men like Tsereteli and Chernov are hoping to 
induce the capitalists to bring the present predatory war 
to a speedy and more honourable end. But these leaders of 
the Narodnik and Menshevik parties are mistaken: they are, 
in effect, helping the capitalists to prepare an offensive by the 
Russian troops against Germany, that is, to drag out the 
war, to add to the incredibly enormous sacrifices the Russian 
people have made in the war. 

We are convinced that the capitalists in all countries 
are deceiving the people by promising an early and just 
peace when they are actually prolonging the war of conquest. 
The Russian capitalists, who controlled the old Provisional 
Government and continue to control the new one, did not 
even wish to publish the secret predatory treaties ex-Tsar 
Nicholas Romanov concluded with the capitalists of Britain, 
France, and other countries with the object of wresting 
Constantinople from the Turks, Galicia from the Austrians, 
Armenia from the Turks, and so on. The Provisional 
Government has confirmed these treaties. 

Our Party maintains that these treaties are just as 
criminal and predatory as the treaties the German brigand- 
capitalists and their brigand-Emperor Wilhelm have with 
their allies. 

The blood of the workers and peasants must-not be shed 
for the sake of such predatory aims of the capitalists. 



OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



373 



This criminal war must be brought to a speedy end, not 
by a separate peace with Germany, but by a universal peace, 
not by a capitalist peace, but by a peace of the working masses 
against the capitalists. There is only one way to do this, 
and that is by transferring all state power to the Soviets 
of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies both in 
Russia and in other countries. Only such Soviets will be able 
effectively to prevent the capitalists from deceiving the 
peoples, and prevent the war being dragged on by the capi- 
talists. 

This brings me to the third and last of the questions I have 
mentioned: the question of state organisation. 

Russia must become a democratic republic. Even the 
majority of the landowners and capitalists, who have always 
stood for the monarchy but now see that the people of Rus- 
sia will on no account allow it to be restored, are in agree- 
ment with this. The capitalists now have directed all their 
efforts at making the Russian republic as much like a mon- 
archy as possible so that it might be changed back into a 
monarchy with the least difficulty (this has happened time and 
again in many countries). For this purpose the capitalists 
want to preserve the bureaucracy, which stands above the 
people, to preserve the police and the standing army, which 
is separated from the people and commanded by non-elective 
generals and other officers. And the generals and other 
officers, unless they are elected, will almost invariably be 
landowners and capitalists. That much we know from the 
experience of all the republics in the world. 

Our Party, the party of class-conscious workers and poor 
peasants, is therefore working for a democratic republic 
of another kind. We want a republic where there is no police 
that browbeats the people; where all officials, from the 
bottom up, are elective and displaceable whenever the people 
demand it, and are paid salaries not higher than the wages 
of a competent worker; where all army officers are similarly 
elective and where the standing army separated from the 
people and subordinated to classes alien to the people is 
replaced by the universally armed people, by a people's 
militia. 

We want a republic where all state power, from the 
bottom up, belongs wholly and exclusively to the 



374 



V. I. LENIN 



Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', and other 
Deputies. 

The workers and peasants are the majority of the popula- 
tion. The power must belong to them, not to the landowners 
or the capitalists. 

The workers and peasants are the majority of the popula- 
tion. The power and the functions of administration must 
belong to their Soviets, not to the bureaucracy. 

Such are our views, comrade peasant deputies. We are 
firmly convinced that experience will soon show the broad 
masses how erroneous the policy of the Narodniks and Men- 
sheviks is. Experience will soon show the masses that compro- 
mise with the capitalists cannot save Russia, which, like 
Germany and other countries, is standing on the brink of 
disaster, cannot save the war-wearied peoples. The transfer 
of all state power directly to the majority of the population 
alone can save the peoples. 

Petrograd, May 7, 1917 

N. Lenin 



Published May 24 (11), 1917 
in the newspaper Soldatskaya Pravda No. 19 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



375 



THE "VIRTUAL ARMISTICE" 

Novaya Zhizn for May 7 publishes interviews with minis- 
ters of the "new" government. Prime Minister Lvov has 
declared that "the country must have its weighty say and 
send its army into battle". 

This is the sum and substance of the new government's 
"programme". An offensive, an offensive, an offensive! 

Defending this imperialist programme, now accepted by 
the Chernovs and the Tseretelis, Minister Lvov in tones of 
deepest moral indignation fulminates against the "virtual 
armistice that has been established at the front" \ 

Let every Russian worker, let every peasant give careful 
thought to this programme of offensive, to these violent 
ministerial diatribes against the "virtual armistice". 

Millions of people have been killed and crippled in the 
war. Untold sufferings have fallen to the lot of the people, 
particularly the working masses, as a result of the war. The 
capitalists are making scandalously high profits out of the 
war. The soldiers are utterly worn out. 

What is wrong with a virtual armistice? What is wrong 
with having the slaughter stopped? What is wrong with the 
soldiers getting at least a brief respite? 

We are told that an armistice has been established only 
on one front, and therefore there is a danger of a separate 
peace. But this argument does not hold water. If neither 
the Russian Government nor the Russian workers and peas- 
ants want a separate peace with the German capitalists 
(our Party, as we know, through Pravda and in the resolution 
passed at our Conference,* which spoke in the name of the 



See p. 272 of this volume.— Ed. 



376 



V. I. LENIN 



Party as a whole, has repeatedly protested against such a 
peace) — if no one in Russia wants a separate peace with 
separate capitalists, how then, by what miracle, can such a 
peace come? Who can impose it? 

The objection is clearly untenable. It is sheer invention, 
an attempt to throw dust in our eyes. 

Further, why should a virtual armistice on one front imply 
the "danger" of a separate peace on that front, and not the 
danger of such an armistice spreading to all fronts! 

A virtual armistice is an unstable transitional state of 
affairs. This is incontrovertible. Transitional to what? It 
cannot lead to a separate peace so long as there is no mutual 
agreement between the two governments or two nations. 
But why could not such an armistice lead to a virtual truce 
on all fronts? Surely this is what all nations agree with, 
despite all or most of their governments! 

Fraternisation on one front can and should lead to frater- 
nisation on all fronts. A virtual armistice on one front can 
and should lead to a virtual armistice on all fronts. 

The nations would thus gain a respite from the carnage. 
The revolutionary workers in all the countries would raise 
their heads still higher; their influence would increase, 
and faith in the possibility and necessity of a workers' 
revolution in the advanced capitalist countries would become 
strengthened. 

What is wrong with such a transition? Why should we 
not help to bring it about as far as it is in our power to 
do so? 

We may be told that a virtual armistice today on all 
fronts would help the German capitalists, who have 
snatched more loot than anybody else. This is not true . For one 
thing, the British capitalists have grabbed more (the Ger- 
man colonies in Africa, German islands in the Pacific, Meso- 
potamia, part of Syria, etc.) and, unlike the German 
capitalists, have lost nothing. Secondly, if the German capital- 
ists had shown greater obstinacy than the British capital- 
ists, the growth of the revolution in Germany would have 
only been accelerated. The revolution in Germany is obvi- 
ously mounting. An offensive by the Russian troops would 
check this growth. The "virtual armistice" hastens the rise 
of this revolution. 



THE "VIRTUAL ARMISTICE 



377 



Thirdly, what with growing hunger, ruin, and disorgani- 
sation. Germany is in desperate straits, being worse off than 
any other country, especially since the United States has 
entered the war. A "virtual armistice" would not remove 
this fundamental source of Germany's weakness; on the con- 
trary, it is likely to improve the position of the other coun- 
tries (greater freedom for bringing up supplies) while wors- 
ening that of the German capitalists (who have nowhere 
to bring supplies up from and will have greater difficulty 
in hiding the truth from the people). 

The Russian people have two programmes to choose from. 
One is the programme of the capitalists, adopted by the Cher- 
novs and Tseretelis. This is the programme of offensive, the 
programme for dragging out the imperialist war, dragging 
out the carnage. 

The other programme is that of the world's revolutionary 
workers, advocated in Russia by our Party. This programme 
says: stimulate fraternisation (but do not permit the Ger- 
mans to deceive the Russians); fraternise by means of procla- 
mations; extend fraternisation and a virtual armistice 
to all fronts; help to spread these in every possible way, 
thereby hastening the proletarian revolution in all the 
countries, giving at least a temporary respite to the 
soldiers of all the belligerent countries; hasten in Russia the 
transfer of power to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and 
Peasants' Deputies, and thereby hasten the conclusion of a 
really just, really universal peace in the interests of the 
working people, and not in the interests of the capitalists. 

Our government, with the Chernovs and Tseretelis, the 
Narodniks and the Mensheviks, is for the first programme. 

The majority of the Russian nation and of all the nations 
within Russia (and outside Russia), i.e., the majority of the 
workers and poor peasants, undoubtedly stand for the 
second programme. 

The victory of this second programme is drawing nearer 
every day. 



Pravda No. 52, May 22 (9), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



378 



SECRETS OF FOREIGN POLICY 

What a pity that the masses cannot read books on the his- 
tory of diplomacy, or the editorials in the capitalist news- 
papers. And an even greater pity — though in this case pity 
is too feeble a word — that the Socialist-Revolutionary and 
Menshevik ministers and their ministeriable colleagues 
should maintain such a discreet silence on certain facts of 
diplomatic history and on the utterances of the "great dip- 
lomatic minds", though these are only too well known to 
them. 

Rech quotes what it claims to be a reliable report in Bir- 
zhevka to the effect that Britain is quite prepared to renounce 
the "dismemberment of Turkey and partitioning of Aus- 
tria-Hungary". In other words, Britain readily consents to 
Russia not getting the annexations promised her under ear- 
lier treaties (Constantinople, Armenia, Galicia). In this 
sense — and in this sense alone — Britain is prepared to revise 
the treaties. 

And Rech waxes indignant: 

"So this is the first result of the triumph of the new slogan [the 
slogan of peace without annexations and indemnities]. The agreements 
will very likely be revised: our Allies — not we — are already taking 
'preparatory steps' towards that end. The result of this revision, 
however, will be not a uniform [mark this!] renunciation of the major 
objectives of all the Allies, but a one-sided [isn't that a gem?] renun- 
ciation of the objectives in South-Eastern Europe [read: in Austria and 
Turkey, i.e., the plundering of Armenia, Constantinople, Galicia] 
in favour of objectives in other areas and in the colonies, formulated 
not by us but by our Allies. 

"In particular, there have been press reports suggesting that our 
Allies might abandon their objectives in Asia Minor. True, there is 
so far no official confirmation of the statements to that effect said to 
have been made by Albert Thomas in the Soviet of Workers' and Sol- 
diers' Deputies and reported in the Moscow press. It would be diffi- 
cult, however, to expect any such action as far as Britain is concerned. 



SECRETS OF FOREIGN POLICY 



379 



For Britain takes the correct view that possession is nine-tenths of the 
law [mark this!] and her troops are already occupying parts of Meso- 
potamia and Palestine which are of vital interest to her [read: to her 
capitalists]. In these circumstances, Britain's refusal to fight for the 
vital interests of the other [Rech's italics] Allies would, of course, 
likewise be a one-sided act advantageous to her alone." 

Truly, Milyukov, or whoever it was wrote these lines, 
deserves to have a monument set up to him in his lifetime ... 
for frankness. Bravo, candid Rech diplomats! (And why are 
they candid? Because they were angered at Milyukov being 
deprived of his portfolio.) 

Everything that has been said in the lines quoted above 
is the truth, a truth confirmed by the recent history of 
diplomacy and the history of foreign investments. Britain at 
any rate will not renounce the seizure (annexation) of 
Palestine and Mesopotamia, though she is prepared to punish 
the Russians (for the "virtual armistice" on the Russian- 
German front) by denying them Galicia, Constantinople, 
Armenia, etc. That, in plain, non-diplomatic language, is 
the meaning of these statements in Rech. 

And the Russian capitalists for whom Rech speaks can 
barely hold back their anger. Foaming at the mouth, they 
are blurting out the secrets of foreign policy and taking digs 
at the British capitalists: what you are doing is "one-sided", 
it is to your "advantage", and to the disadvantage of 
others. 

Comrades, workers and soldiers! Consider these strikingly 
frank and strikingly truthful statements of Rech, coming 
from iceZZ-informed diplomats and former ministers, consider 
this excellent exposure of the real aims which not only the 
Russian, but the British capitalists, too, are pursuing in the 
war. 

Russian soldiers! Do you want to fight to help the British 
capitalists seize Mesopotamia and Palestine? Do you want 
to support the Russian Government of Lvov, Chernov, Te- 
reshchenko, Tsereteli, a government bound by the interests 
of the capitalists and afraid openly to state the true facts 
which have been blurted out by Rech? 



Pravda No. 53, 
May 23 (10), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



380 



ONE OF THE SECRET TREATIES 

We all know that the "revolutionary" Provisional 
Government's first word on foreign policy was the declaration 
that all secret treaties concluded by ex-Tsar Nicholas II 
with the "Allied" capitalists remained in force, and that the 
new Russia would regard them as sacred and inviolable. 

We know, furthermore, that our "defencists" vehemently 
support the Milyukovs' refusal to publish the secret treaties. 
These so-called socialists have sunk so low as to defend 
secret diplomacy, and the secret diplomacy of the ex-tsar 
at that. 

Why do the supporters of the imperialist war guard the 
secret of these treaties so zealously? 

Do you want to know why, comrade workers and soldiers? 

Familiarise yourselves with at least one of these noble 
treaties — "our" treaty with Italy (i.e., with the Italian 
capitalists) signed at the beginning of 1915. 

On the basis of material published in Novoye Vremya, 
Mr. V. Vodovozov, a bourgeois democrat, reveals in Dyen 
(for May 6, 1917) the contents of that treaty: 

"The Allies have guaranteed Italy Southern Tyrol with Trient, 
the entire coastline, and the northern part of Dalmatia with the towns 
of Zara and Spalato, the central part of Albania with Valona, the Ae- 
gean islands off the coast of Asia Minor, as well as a profitable railway 
concession in Asiatic Turkey — such is the price for which Italy has 
traded her blood. These annexations exceed any national claims ever 
advanced by Italy many times over. In addition to regions with an 
Italian population (Southern Tyrol and Trieste) of nearly 600,000, 
Italy, under this treaty, is to receive territories with a population of 
over a million who are absolutely alien to Italy ethnographically and 
in point of religion. These include, for instance, Dalmatia, 97 per cent 
of whose population are Serbs and only slightly over 2 per cent Ital- 
ians. It is only natural that this treaty with Italy, concluded without 



ONE OF THE SECRET TREATIES 



381 



the knowledge or consent of Serbia, should have provoked such bitter- 
ness and resentment in that country. Pasic, speaking in the Skup- 
shtina, expressed the hope that the rumours concerning the treaty were 
false, since Italy herself had united in the name of the principle of 
national unity, and could not therefore do anything that was likely 
to strike at the very roots of that principle. But Pasic was wrong; the 
treaty was concluded. 

"This is the only treaty concerning the present war whose contents 
we know of, and this treaty is grossly predatory. Whether similar preda- 
tory instincts are or are not reflected in the other treaties, we do not 
know. At any rate, it is extremely important that democracy, on whose 
banner is inscribed 'peace without annexations', should know this." 

"We do not know" to what extent the other secret treaties 
are predatory? No, Mr. Vodovozov, we know it very well: 
the secret treaties concerning the carve-up of Persia and 
Turkey, the seizure of Galicia and Armenia are just as 
dirty and predatory as the rapacious treaty with Italy. 

Comrade soldiers and workers! You are told that you are 
defending "freedom" and the "revolution"! In reality you 
are defending the shady treaties of the tsar, which are con- 
cealed from you as one conceals a secret disease. 



Pravda No. 53, 
May 23 (10), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



382 



MINISTERIAL TONE 

The editors of Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet have 
adopted a ministerial tone. They do not like Pravda; they 
condemn it for its "sharp attacks against the Provisional Gov- 
ernment". 

To criticise what he doesn't like is the sacred right of 
every publicist. But why make oneself ridiculous by dis- 
pensing ministerial censure for our "attacks" without criti- 
cising the issues we raise? Would it not be better to analyse 
our arguments, or at least one of our resolutions, or at least 
one of our statements on the class struggle? 

"The country today is heading for ruin," says Izvestia' 's 
editorial. Correct. For that very reason it would be unwise 
today to rely on the conciliatory policy of the petty bour- 
geoisie, the Narodniks and the Mensheviks, with regard to 
the capitalists. The country cannot be saved from ruin in that 
way. 



Pravda No. 53, 
May 23 (10), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



383 



IN SEARCH OF A NAPOLEON 

The newspaper of ex-Minister Milyukov is so furious with 
the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries for having 
forced certain individuals out of the cabinet that it lets itself 
be forced into making rather "indiscreet" statements. 

"How can we tolerate such criminal propaganda?" — we read in an 
unsigned article of May 9 on the question of fraternisation. "Will 
this never be put a stop to? Must we have a Napoleon? Must we be 
content with more talk about iron discipline?" 

A delicate, a very delicate hint alluding to Kerensky's 
notorious words about iron discipline. 

Rech gives its readers a true and accurate picture of what 
is going on in "our" "new" government. We thank Rech 
from the bottom of our hearts for this truthfulness, which 
is exceptionally rare in such a newspaper and which has been 
called forth by exceptional circumstances. 

In the "new" government Kerensky, supported by Chernov 
and Tsereteli, proclaims "iron discipline" for the army (in 
order to carry out the imperialist programme for an offen- 
sive). 

And the landowners and capitalists, who have ten out 
of the sixteen posts in the cabinet, fume at Kerensky: "Must 
we be content with mere talk about iron discipline?" 

Is it not clear that this phrase is calculated to inspire 
Kerensky or some "suitable" general to take upon himself 
the role of a Napoleon, the role of a strangler of freedom, the 
role of an executioner of the workers? 



Pravda No. 53, 
May 23 (10), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



384 



NOTHING HAS CHANGED 

Now that "socialists" have become members of the cabi- 
net, 101 things will be different, the defencists have been 
assuring us. It did not take more than a few days to reveal 
the falsity of these assurances. 

We all know what indignation was aroused among the 
soldiers and workers by ex-Minister Milyukov's statement 
that he had no intention of publishing the secret treaties 
which ex-Tsar Nicholas II had concluded with the British 
and French capitalists. And now, what does Mr. Tereshchen- 
ko, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, the associate of 
Skobelev and Tsereteli, have to say on this question? 

Tereshchenko admits that "this question [i.e., the secret 
treaties] arouses passions". But what does he do to cool 
these passions? He simply repeats what Milyukov, who has 
just been deposed, said before him. 

"Immediate publication of the treaties would amount to 
a break with the Allies," Tereshchenko declared in a state- 
ment to the press. 

And the "socialist" ministers are silent and condone the 
system of secret diplomacy. 

The coalition cabinet has brought no changes. The tsar's 
secret treaties remain sacred to it. 

And you, gentlemen, want this not to "arouse passions"? 
What do you take the class-conscious workers and soldiers 
for? Or do you really regard them as "rebellious slaves"? 



Pravda No. 54, 
May 24 (11), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



385 



A REGRETTABLE DEVIATION 
FROM THE PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY 

Today's Izvestia carries a report of the meeting of the 
Soldiers' Section of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies. This meeting, among other things, 

"considered the question of whether soldiers could perform the duties 
of militiamen. The Executive Committee proposed to the meeting a 
resolution to the following effect; 

"'In view of the fact that soldiers must perform their direct duty, 
the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies declares 
against the soldiers' participation in the militia, and proposes that all 
soldiers serving in the militia be immediately returned to their units.' 

"After a brief debate, the resolution was passed with an amendment 
permitting soldiers discharged from active service as well as wounded 
soldiers to perform militia duties." 

It is to be regretted that the exact texts of the resolution 
and the amendment have not been published. More regret- 
table still is the fact that the Executive Committee proposed 
and the meeting adopted a resolution which is a complete 
abandonment of the fundamental principles of democracy. 

There is hardly a democratic party in Russia that does not 
include in its programme a demand for the universal arming 
of the people as a substitute for the standing army. There 
is hardly a Socialist-Revolutionary or a Menshevik Social- 
Democrat who would dare oppose such a demand. The trouble 
is that it has become a "custom" "nowadays", under the cover 
of high-sounding phrases about "revolutionary democracy", 
to accept democratic (the more so socialist) programmes 
"in principle", but reject them in practice. 

To oppose the participation of soldiers in the militia 
on the ground that "soldiers must perform their direct 
duty" is to forget completely the principles of democracy and 



386 



V. I. LENIN 



involuntarily, unconsciously, perhaps, to adopt the idea of 
a standing army. The soldier is a professional; his direct duty 
is not social service at all — such is the point of view of those 
who are for a standing army. It is not a democratic point of 
view. It is the point of view of the Napoleons. It is the point 
of view of the supporters of the old regime and the capitalists, 
who dream of an easy transition backward, from a repub- 
lic to a constitutional monarchy. 

A democrat is opposed to such a view on principle. Sol- 
diers' participation in the militia amounts to breaking down 
the wall that separates the army from the people. It amounts 
to breaking with the accursed "barrack" past where a spe- 
cial group of citizens, detached from and opposed to the peo- 
ple, were trained, "knocked into shape" and drilled for the 
"direct task" of following only a military profession. Sol- 
diers' participation in the militia is a cardinal issue involv- 
ing the re-education of the "soldiers" into militiamen citi- 
zens, the re-education of the population into public-spirited 
armed citizens. Democracy will remain an idle deceitful 
phrase, or merely a half-measure, unless the entire people 
is given a chance immediately and unqualifiedly to learn how 
to handle arms. Without the systematic, regular, and wide- 
spread participation of the soldiers in the militia this will be 
impossible. 

The objection may be raised that soldiers should not be 
deflected from their direct duties. No one said they should. 
To make a point of this is as ridiculous as saying that a phy- 
sician engaged at the bedside of a patient who is dangerously 
ill has no right to leave that bedside in order to go and hand 
in his voting-paper, or that a worker engaged in production, 
which admittedly must not be interrupted, has no right to go 
away to exercise his political rights until he is relieved by 
another worker. Such arguments would simply be frivolous 
and even unscrupulous. 

Participation in the militia is one of the cardinal and 
basic principles of democracy, one of the most important 
guarantees of freedom. (We might add, parenthetically, that 
there is no better way of enhancing the purely military strength 
and capacity of the army than by substituting the universal 
arming of the people for the standing army, and by using the 
soldiers to instruct the people; this method has always been 



A REGRETTABLE DEVIATION FROM DEMOCRACY 



387 



used and always will be used in every truly revolutionary 
war.) The immediate, unqualified, universal organisation of 
a people's militia and the widest participation of soldiers 
in that militia are in the vital interests of the workers, peas- 
ants, and soldiers, that is to say, the vast majority of the 
population, a majority that is not interested in safeguarding 
the profits of the landowners and the capitalists. 

Written May 10 (23), 1917 

Published May 25 (12), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 55 to the newspaper text 



388 



ON THE QUESTION OF CONVENING 

AN INTERNATIONAL, 
SO-CALLED SOCIALIST CONFERENCE 
JOINTLY WITH 
THE SOCIAL-CHAUVINISTS 

Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet published today the Exec- 
utive Committee's "Terms of Reference" for the organisa- 
tion of a commission for convening an international confer- 
ence. Our Party, among others, is asked to send a rep- 
resentative to the commission. Needless to say, our Party will 
take no part either in the commission or in any joint confer- 
ence with so-called socialist ministers who have gone over 
to their bourgeoisie. This should be well known to anyone 
who has taken any interest in our Party, or who has read our 
resolution concerning the state of affairs in the Interna- 
tional. 

Our Party's Central Committee unanimously decided a 
few days ago to send a delegate to the forthcoming Zimmer- 
wald Conference with instructions to immediately walk 
out of that Conference and withdraw from the Zimmerwald 
group in the event of the Conference declaring in favour 
of any association or joint discussion with the social- 
chauvinists. 

Written May 10 (23), 1917 

Published May 25 (12), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 55 to the newspaper text 



389 



SPEECH AT A MEETING AT THE PUTILOV WORKS 
MAY 12 (25), 1917 

BRIEF NEWSPAPER REPORT 

Lenin set forth the Bolsheviks' views on the war, on peace, 
and the coalition government. 

In the first part of his speech Lenin briefly stated 
the reasons for his journey via Germany, then passed on 
to the war and made clear its predatory nature. He then 
dwelt on the question of how to end the war and developed 
the idea that the only way of doing this was by an alliance 
of the workers of all the belligerent countries. 

Lenin next dealt with the question as to what stood in the 
way of such an alliance and outlined the road by which such 
an alliance of the workers could and should be achieved. 

The way to this was not by an agreement between the work- 
ers and the capitalists, and between the soldier-peasants 
and the landowners, but by a struggle of the workers and 
peasants against their oppressors. 

The coalition government was an agreement between the 
socialists and the capitalists, it meant suppression of the 
revolution. 

Seizure of power by the workers and the peasants could 
solve our country's most pressing problems for her — the 
problem of the land, of its transfer to the peasants, and 
other questions connected with the war, such as food supply, 
improving the condition of the workers, etc. 



Soldatskaya Pravda No. 26, 
June 1 (May 19), 1917 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



390 



THE PROLETARIAN PARTY 
AT THE DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTIONS 

Our Party is going to the polls with its own lists of candi- 
dates. According to preliminary reports received by the Sec- 
retariat of the Central Committee these lists have been made 
up without any blocs in 4 out of 12 districts (Moskovsky, 
Rozhdestvenskoye, Kolpino, and Porokhovo districts). In 
all the other districts we are forming blocs only with the 
internationalists, specifically, in 6 districts (Vtoroi Gorods- 
koi, Narvsky, Petrogradkaya Storona, Moskovsky, Pervy 
Gorodskoi and Vasilyevsky Ostrov districts) with the 
"Inter-District" Organisation 102 (who, as we know, have 
most emphatically condemned the Narodniks and 
Mensheviks for joining the capitalist cabinet); in 4 districts 
(Vyborgsky, Nevsky, Pervy Gorodskoi and Vasilyevsky 
Ostrov districts) with the internationalist Mensheviks 
opposed to "socialist" ministerialism 103 ; and in 1 district 
(Nevsky) with internationalists from the Socialist- 
Revolutionary Party, who condemn their party's 
"ministerialism". 

This co-operation with internationalists from other 
parties is fully in keeping with the decisions of our 
conferences (the Petrograd and the All-Russia conferences) and 
with the basic policy of the proletarian party aimed against 
petty-bourgeois defencism and Menshevik and Narodnik 
ministerialism. 

The "Left bloc" propaganda, carried on, among others, by 
Novaya Zhizn, obviously could not alter our Party's deci- 
sion. The view that the municipal elections "are not of such 
a pronounced political character" (as the elections to the 



THE PROLETARIAN PARTY AT THE D.C. ELECTIONS 391 



Constituent Assembly) is wrong, basically wrong. It is just 
as wrong to maintain that "the municipal programmes of the 
different socialist [?] parties differ very little from one an- 
other". To repeat such odd statements without answering 
Pravdas arguments is to dodge an important issue or simply 
to haul down the flag. 

To narrow the elections in the capital down to a purely 
(or even predominantly) "municipal" programme at a 
time of revolution is grotesquely ridiculous. It flies in 
the face of all revolutionary experience. It is an insult to 
the common sense of the workers, who know only too well 
that Petrograd's is a leading role, sometimes a decisive 
one. 

The Cadets unite all the Rights, the whole counter-revo- 
lution, all the landowners and capitalists. They support the 
government and want to see revolutionary Petrograd play- 
ing second fiddle to the government of the capitalists, 
who have ten ministers to the Narodniks' and Mensheviks' 
six. 

Opposed to the Cadets, the chauvinists, the supporters 
of war for the Straits, there is the party of the proletariat, 
which, definitely hostile as it is to imperialism, is the only 
party capable of breaking with the interests of Capital and 
implementing serious revolutionary measures, without which 
it is impossible to help the working masses at a moment of 
imminent catastrophe of gigantic proportions. Without revo- 
lutionary measures there can be no salvation. Without a 
workers' militia as a step towards the immediate creation of 
a people's militia, it is impossible, even with the best will in 
the world, to carry out such measures, in particular to do 
away with queues and the disorganisation in the matter 
of food supply. 

As for the middle-of-the-road line taken by the petty 
bourgeoisie, the Mensheviks and the Narodniks, who proc- 
laim good intentions and weaken themselves by making a 
deal with and submitting to the capitalists (6 ministers 
against 10!) — this line is a dead thing. The masses will 
soon learn this from experience, even if they do, for a time, 
believe in "agreements" with the capitalists. 

All those who really stand for the interests of the working 
masses, for doing away with the police and having it 



392 



V. I. LENIN 



replaced by a people's militia, all those who stand for serious 
revolutionary measures to cope with the crisis and save the 
country from an unprecedented debacle, should vote for the 
lists of candidates of the proletarian party — the Russian 
Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks). 



Pravda No. 56, 
May 26 (13), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



393 



STATEMENTS ABOUT THE WAR MADE BY OUR 
PARTY BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 

The statements dealing with the possible victory of a 
chauvinist (defencist) revolution are of particular interest. 
Sotsial-Demokrat , the Central Organ of the Russian Social- 
Democratic. Labour Party published in Geneva under the 
editorship of Zinoviev and Lenin, carried the following state- 
ment of its editors in its issue No. 47 for October 13, 1915: 

"(8) By revolutionary chauvinists we mean those who want 
a victory over tsarism so as to achieve victory over Ger- 
many, plunder other countries, consolidate Great-Russian 
rule over the other peoples of Russia, etc. Revolutionary 
chauvinism is based on the class position of the petty bour- 
geoisie. The latter always vacillates between the bourgeoi- 
sie and the proletariat. At present it is vacillating between 
chauvinism (which prevents it from being consistently revo- 
lutionary, even within the meaning of a democratic revolu- 
tion) and proletarian internationalism. At the moment the 
Trudoviks, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Nasha Zarya, 104 
Chkheidze's Duma group, 105 the Organising Committee, 
Mr. Plekhanov and the like are political spokesmen for this 
petty bourgeoisie in Russia. 

"(9) If the revolutionary chauvinists won in Russia, we 
would be opposed to a defence of their 'fatherland' in the pres- 
ent war. Our slogan is: against the chauvinists, even if they 
are revolutionary and republican — against them, and for 
an alliance of the international proletariat for the socialist 
revolution. 

"(10) To the question of whether it is possible for the pro- 
letariat to assume the leadership in the bourgeois Russian 
revolution, our answer is: yes, it is possible, if the petty 



394 



V. I. LENIN 



bourgeoisie swings to the left at the decisive moment; it is 
being pushed to the left, not only by our propaganda, but 
by a number of objective factors, economic, financial (the 
burden of war), military, political, and others. 

"(U) To the question of what the party of the proletariat 
would do if the revolution placed power in its hands in the 
present war, our answer is as follows: we would propose 
peace to all the belligerents on the condition that freedom 
is given to the colonies and all peoples that are dependent, 
oppressed and deprived of rights. Under the present govern- 
ments, neither Germany nor Britain and France would 
accept this condition. In that case, we would have to pre- 
pare for and wage a revolutionary war, i.e., not only resolute- 
ly carry out the whole of our minimum programme, but 
work systematically to bring about an uprising among all 
peoples now oppressed by the Great Russians, all colonies 
and dependent countries in Asia (India, China, Persia, etc.), 
and also, first and foremost, we would raise up the social- 
ist proletariat of Europe for an insurrection against their 
governments and despite the social-chauvinists. There is no 
doubt that a victory of the proletariat in Russia would 
create extraordinarily favourable conditions for the develop- 
ment of the revolution in both Asia and Europe. Even 1905 
proved that. The international solidarity of the revolution- 
ary proletariat is a fact, despite the scum of opportunism 
and social-chauvinism."* 



Pravda No. 56, Published according 

May 26 (13), 1917 to the text in Pravda 



See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 403-04.— Ed. 



395 



IMPENDING DEBACLE 

News, speculation, apprehensions and rumours of an 
impending disaster are becoming more and more frequent. 
The capitalist newspapers are trying to frighten people; 
they are fulminating against the Bolsheviks and making 
play of Kutler's cryptic allusions to "a certain" factory, to 
"certain" factories, to "a certain" enterprise, and so forth. 
Peculiar methods, strange "proofs". Why not name a definite 
factory? Why not give the public and the workers a chance 
to verify these rumours, which are deliberately calculated 
to excite alarm? 

It should not be difficult for the capitalists to understand 
that by withholding the exact facts about definite specified 
factories they are only making themselves ridiculous. Why, 
gentlemen — you capitalists are the government, you have 
ten out of the sixteen ministers, you bear the responsibility, 
you give the orders. Is it not ridiculous that people who run 
the government, people who have a majority in it, should 
confine themselves to Kutler's anonymous references, 
should be afraid to come out in the open and should try to 
shift responsibility to other parties that are not at the helm 
of the state? 

The newspapers of the petty-bourgeois parties, the Narod- 
niks and Mensheviks, are also complaining, though in a 
somewhat different tone. They do not so much level accusa- 
tions against the terrible Bolsheviks (that, of course, is 
all in the day's work) as heap one good wish upon another. 
Most typical in this respect is Izvestia, which is run by a 
bloc of the two above-named parties. In its issue No. 63 for 
May 11 are two articles on the subject of combating economic 
chaos. The articles are identical in character. One of them, 



396 



V. I. LENIN 



to put it mildly, is injudiciously headed (altogether as "inju- 
dicious" as the very fact of the Narodniks and Mensheviks 
joining the imperialist cabinet): "What Does the Provisional 
Government Want?" It would have been more correct to 
say: "What the Provisional Government Does Not Want 
and What It Promises." 

The other article is a "resolution of the Economic Department 
of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies". Here are some quotations from it, best 
illustrative of its contents: 

"Many branches of industry are ripe for a state trade monopoly 
(grain, meat, salt, leather), others are ripe for the organisation of state- 
controlled trusts (coal, oil, metallurgy, sugar, paper); and, finally, 
present conditions demand in the case of nearly all branches of indus- 
try state control of the distribution of raw materials and manufactures, 

as well as price fixing Simultaneously, it is necessary to place all 

banking institutions under state and public control in order to combat 

speculation in goods subject to state control At the same time, the 

most energetic measures should be taken against the workshy, even if 

labour conscription has to be introduced for that purpose The 

country is already in a state of catastrophe, and the only thing that can 
save it is the creative effort of the whole nation headed by a government 
which has consciously shouldered [hem, hem!] the stupendous task 
of rescuing a country ruined by war and the tsarist regime." 

With the exception of the last phrase beginning with the 
words we have italicised, a phrase which with purely philis- 
tine credulity places on the "shoulders" of the capitalists tasks 
they are incapable of fulfilling, the programme is an excel- 
lent one. We have here control, state-controlled trusts, the 
combating of speculation, labour conscription — in what way 
does this differ from "terrible" Bolshevism, what more could 
these "terrible" Bolsheviks want? 

That is just the point, that is the crux of the matter, 
that is just what petty bourgeois and philistines of all 
shades and colours stubbornly refuse to see. They are forced 
to accept the programme of "terrible" Bolshevism, because 
no other programme offers a way out of the really calamitous 
debacle that is impending. But — there is this but — the capi- 
talists "accept" this programme (see the famous § 3 of the 
declaration of the "new" Provisional Government 106 ) in 
order not to carry it out. And the Narodniks and Mensheviks 
trust the capitalists, and encourage the people to share this 



IMPENDING DEBACLE 



397 



fatal trust. That is the sum and substance of the political 
situation. 

Control over the trusts, with publication of their full 
reports, with immediate conferences of their employees, with 
the unqualified participation in this control of the workers 
themselves, with independent control on the part of represen- 
tatives of every important political party — all this can be 
introduced by decree which can be drafted in a single day. 

What is the difficulty then, Citizens Shingaryovs, Teresh- 
chenkos, Konovalovs? What is stopping you, citizens, 
near-socialist ministers Chernov and Tsereteli? What is 
stopping you, Citizens Narodnik and Menshevik leaders of 
the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies? 

Neither we nor anybody else could have proposed anything 
but the immediate establishment of such control over the 
trusts, banks, trade, food supply, and the workshy (a surpris- 
ingly good word to come from the pen of the Izvestia edi- 
tors!). Nothing better could be devised than "the creative 
effort of the whole nation". 

Only we must not trust the word of the capitalists; we must 
not believe the naive (at best, naive) hope of the Menshe- 
viks and Narodniks that the capitalists can establish such 
control. 

A debacle is impending. Disaster is imminent. The capi- 
talists are heading all countries to destruction. There is only 
one way out: revolutionary discipline, revolutionary meas- 
ures by the revolutionary class, the proletarians and semi- 
proletarians, the transfer of all power in the state to that 
class, a class that is really capable of instituting such con- 
trol, that is able to cope effectively with the "workshy". 



Pravda No. 57, 
May 27 (14), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



398 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 

A LECTURE DELIVERED MAY 14 (27), 1917 

The question of war and revolution has been dealt with 
so often lately in the press and at every public meeting that 
probably many of you are not only familiar with many as- 
pects of the question but have come to find them tedious. 
I have not yet had a single opportunity to address or even 
attend any Party or for that matter any public meetings in 
this district, and therefore I run the risk, perhaps, of repeti- 
tion or of not dealing in sufficient detail with those aspects 
of the question that interest you most. 

It seems to me that the most important thing that is 
usually overlooked in the question of the war, a key issue 
to which insufficient attention is paid and over which there 
is so much dispute — useless, hopeless, idle dispute, I should 
say — is the question of the class character of the war: 
what caused that war, what classes are waging it, and what 
historical and historico-economic conditions gave rise to it. 
As far as I have been able to follow the way the question 
of the war is dealt with at public and Party meetings, I 
have come to the conclusion that the reason why there is so 
much misunderstanding on the subject is because, all too 
often, when dealing with the question of the war, we speak 
in entirely different languages. 

From the point of view of Marxism, that is, of modern 
scientific socialism, the main issue in any discussion by 
socialists on how to assess the war and what attitude to 
adopt towards it is this: what is the war being waged for, 
and what classes staged and directed it. We Marxists do not 
belong to that category of people who are unqualified oppo- 
nents of all war. We say: our aim is to achieve a socialist 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



399 



system of society, which, by eliminating the division of 
mankind into classes, by eliminating all exploitation of man 
by man and nation by nation, will inevitably eliminate the 
very possibility of war. But in the war to win that socialist 
system of society we are bound to encounter conditions 
under which the class struggle within each given nation may 
come up against a war between the different nations, a war 
conditioned by this very class struggle. Therefore, we cannot 
rule out the possibility of revolutionary wars, i.e., wars 
arising from the class struggle, wars waged by revolution- 
ary classes, wars which are of direct and immediate revolution- 
ary significance. Still less can we rule this out when we 
remember that though the history of European revolutions 
during the last century, in the course of 125-135 years, say, 
gave us wars which were mostly reactionary, it also gave 
us revolutionary wars, such as the war of the French revolu- 
tionary masses against a united monarchist, backward, feu- 
dal and semi-feudal Europe. No deception of the masses is 
more widespread today in Western Europe, and latterly here 
in Russia, too, than that which is practised by citing the 
example of revolutionary wars. There are wars and wars. 
We must be clear as to what historical conditions have given 
rise to the war, what classes are waging it, and for 
what ends. Unless we grasp this, all our talk about the war 
will necessarily be utterly futile, engendering more heat 
than light. That is why I take the liberty, seeing that you 
have chosen war and revolution as the subject of today's 
talk, to deal with this aspect of the matter at greater length. 

We all know the dictum of Clausewitz, one of the most 
famous writers on the philosophy and history of war, which 
says: "War is a continuation of policy by other means." 107 
This dictum comes from a writer who reviewed the history of 
wars and drew philosophic lessons from it shortly after the 
period of the Napoleonic wars. This writer, whose basic 
views are now undoubtedly familiar to every thinking per- 
son, nearly eighty years ago challenged the ignorant man- 
in-the-street conception of war as being a thing apart from 
the policies of the governments and classes concerned, as 
being a simple attack that disturbs the peace, and is then 
followed by restoration of the peace thus disturbed, as much 
as to say: "They had a fight, then they made up!" This is a 



400 



V. I. LENIN 



grossly ignorant view, one that was repudiated scores of years 
ago and is repudiated by any more or less careful analysis 
of any historical epoch of wars. 

War is a continuation of policy by other means. All wars 
are inseparable from the political systems that engender 
them. The policy which a given state, a given class within 
that state, pursued for a long time before the war is inevi- 
tably continued by that same class during the war, the form 
of action alone being changed. 

War is a continuation of policy by other means. When 
the French revolutionary townspeople and revolutionary 
peasants overthrew the monarchy at the close of the eight- 
eenth century by revolutionary means and established a 
democratic republic — when they made short work of their 
monarch, and short work of their landowners, too, in a revo- 
lutionary fashion — that policy of the revolutionary class 
was bound to shake all the rest of autocratic, tsarist, 
imperial, and semi-feudal Europe to its foundations. And the 
inevitable continuation of this policy of the victorious revo- 
lutionary class in France was the wars in which all the mon- 
archist nations of Europe, forming their famous coalition, 
lined up against revolutionary France in a counter-revolu- 
tionary war. Just as within the country the revolutionary 
people of France had then, for the first time, displayed revo- 
lutionary energy on a scale it had never shown for centuries, 
so in the war at the close of the eighteenth century it revealed 
a similar gigantic revolutionary creativeness when it remod- 
elled its whole system of strategy, broke with all the old 
rules and traditions of warfare, replaced the old troops with 
a new revolutionary people's army, and created new methods 
of warfare. This example, to my mind, is noteworthy in 
that it clearly demonstrates to us things which the bourgeois 
journalists are now always forgetting when they pander to 
the philistine prejudices and ignorance of the backward 
masses who do not understand this intimate economic and 
historical connection between every kind of war and the 
preceding policy of every country, every class that ruled 
before the war and achieved its ends by so-called "peaceful" 
means. So-called, because the brute force required to ensure 
"peaceful" rule in the colonies, for example, can hardly be 
called peaceful. 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



401 



Peace reigned in Europe, but this was because domination 
over hundreds of millions of people in the colonies by the Eu- 
ropean nations was sustained only through constant, inces- 
sant, interminable wars, which we Europeans do not regard as 
wars at all, since all too often they resembled, not wars, 
but brutal massacres, the wholesale slaughter of unarmed 
peoples The thing is that if we want to know what the pres- 
ent war is about we must first of all make a general survey 
of the policies of the European powers as a whole. We must 
not take this or that example, this or that particular case, 
which can easily be wrenched out of the context of social 
phenomena and which is worthless, because an opposite 
example can just as easily be cited. We must take the whole 
policy of the entire system of European states in their eco- 
nomic and political interrelations if we are to understand how 
the present war steadily and inevitably grew out of this system. 

We are constantly witnessing attempts, especially on the 
part of the capitalist press — whether monarchist or repub- 
lican — to read into the present war an historical meaning 
which it does not possess. For example, no device is more 
frequently resorted to in the French Republic than that of 
presenting this war on France's part as a continuation and 
counterpart of the wars of the Great French Revolution of 
1792. No device for hoodwinking the French masses, the 
French workers and the workers of all countries is more 
widespread than that of applying to our epoch the "jargon" 
of that other epoch and some of its watchwords, or the attempt 
to present matters as though now, too, republican France 
is defending her liberty against the monarchy. One "minor" 
fact overlooked is that then, in 1792, war was waged in France 
by a revolutionary class, which had carried out an unpar- 
alleled revolution and displayed unmatched heroism in 
utterly destroying the French monarchy and rising against 
a united monarchist Europe with the sole and single aim of 
carrying on its revolutionary struggle. 

The war in France was a continuation of the policy of 
the revolutionary class which had carried out the revolu- 
tion, won the republic, settled accounts' with the French 
capitalists and landowners with unprecedented vigour, and 
was waging a revolutionary war against a united monarchist 
Europe in continuation of that policy. 



402 



V. I. LENIN 



What we have at present is primarily two leagues, two 
groups of capitalist powers. We have before us all the world's 
greatest capitalist powers — Britain, France, America, and 
Germany — who for decades have doggedly pursued a policy of 
incessant economic rivalry aimed at achieving world suprerm- 
acy, subjugating the small nations, and making threefold 
and tenfold profits on banking capital, which has caught 
the whole world in the net of its influence. That is what 
Britain's and Germany's policies really amount to. I stress 
this fact. This fact can never be emphasised strongly enough, 
because if we forget this we shall never understand what 
this war is about, and we shall then be easy game for any 
bourgeois publicist who tries to foist lying phrases on us. 

The real policies of the two groups of capitalist giants — 
Britain and Germany, who, with their respective allies, 
have taken the field against each other — policies which 
they were pursuing for decades before the war, should be stud- 
ied and grasped in their entirety. If we did not do this we 
should not only be neglecting an essential requirement of 
scientific socialism and of all social science in general, but 
we should be unable to understand anything whatever about 
the present war. We should be putting ourselves in the power 
of Milyukov, that deceiver, who is stirring up chauvinism 
and hatred of one nation for another by methods which are 
applied everywhere without exception, methods which Clau- 
sewitz wrote about eighty years ago when he ridiculed the 
very view some people are holding today, namely, that the 
nations lived in peace and then they started fighting. As if 
this were true! How can a war be accounted for without 
considering its bearing on the preceding policy of the given 
state, of the given system of states, the given classes? I re- 
peat: this is a basic point which is constantly overlooked. 
Failure to understand it makes nine-tenths of all war dis- 
cussions mere wrangling, so much verbiage. We say: if you 
have not studied the policies of both belligerent groups over 
a period of decades — so as to avoid accidental factors and the 
quoting of random examples — if you have not shown what 
bearing this war has on preceding policies, then you don't 
understand what this war is all about. 

These policies show us just one thing — continuous economic 
rivalry between the world's two greatest giants, capitalist 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



403 



economies. On the one hand we have Britain, a country 
which owns the greater part of the globe, a country which 
ranks first in wealth, which has created this wealth not so 
much by the labour of its workers as by the exploitation 
of innumerable colonies, by the vast power of its banks which 
have developed at the head of all the others into an insignifi- 
cantly small group of some four or five super-banks handling 
billions of rubles, and handling them in such a way that it 
can be said without exaggeration that there is not a patch 
of land in the world today on which this capital has not laid 
its heavy hand, not a patch of land which British capital 
has not enmeshed by a thousand threads. This capital grew 
to such dimensions by the turn of the century that its activi- 
ties extended far beyond the borders of individual states and 
formed a group of giant banks possessed of fabulous wealth. 
Having begotten this tiny group of banks, it has caught 
the whole world in the net of its billions. This is the sum 
and substance of Britain's economic policy and of the econom- 
ic policy of France, of which even French writers, some of 
them contributors to L' Humanite , 108 a paper now controlled 
by ex-socialists (in fact, no less a man than Lysis, the 
well-known financial writer), stated several years before 
the war: "France is a financial monarchy, France is a finan- 
cial oligarchy, France is the world's money-lender." 

On the other hand, opposed to this, mainly Anglo-French 
group, we have another group of capitalists, an even more 
rapacious, even more predatory one, a group who came to 
the capitalist banqueting table when all the seats were 
occupied, but who introduced into the struggle new methods 
for developing capitalist production, improved techniques, 
and superior organisation, which turned the old capitalism, 
the capitalism of the free-competition age, into the capital- 
ism of giant trusts, syndicates, and cartels. This group 
introduced the beginnings of state-controlled capitalist 
production, combining the colossal power of capitalism with 
the colossal power of the state into a single mechanism and 
bringing tens of millions of people within the single organi- 
sation of state capitalism. Here is economic history, here is 
diplomatic history, covering several decades, from which 
no one can get away. It is the one and only guide-post to a 
proper solution of the problem of war; it leads you to the 



404 



V. I. LENIN 



conclusion that the present war, too, is the outcome of the 
policies of the classes who have come to grips in it, of the 
two supreme giants, who, long before the war, had caught 
the whole world, all countries, in the net of financial exploi- 
tation and economically divided the globe up among them- 
selves. They were bound to clash, because a redivision of 
this supremacy, from the point of view of capitalism, had 
become inevitable. 

The old division was based on the fact that Britain, in 
the course of several centuries, had ruined her former com- 
petitors. A former competitor was Holland, which had domi- 
nated the whole world. Another was France, which had 
fought for supremacy for nearly a hundred years. After a series 
of protracted wars Britain was able, by virtue of her economic 
power, her merchant capital, to establish her unchallenged 
sway over the world. In 1871 a new predator appeared, a 
new capitalist power arose, which developed at an incompa- 
rably faster pace than Britain. That is a basic fact. You 
will not find a book on economic history that does not 
acknowledge this indisputable fact — the fact of Germany's 
faster development. This rapid development of capitalism 
in Germany was the development of a young strong preda- 
tor, who appeared in the concert of European powers and 
said: "You ruined Holland, you defeated France, you have 
helped yourself to half the world — now be good enough to 
let us have our fair share." What does "a fair share" mean? 
How is it to be determined in the capitalist world, in the 
world of banks? There power is determined by the number 
of banks, there power is determined in the way described 
by a mouthpiece of the American multimillionaires, which 
declared with typically American frankness and typically 
American cynicism: "The war in Europe is being waged for 
world domination. To dominate the world two things are 
needed: dollars and banks. We have the dollars, we shall 
make the banks and we shall dominate the world." This 
statement was made by a leading newspaper of the American 
multimillionaires. I must say, there is a thousand times 
more truth in this cynical statement of a blustering American 
multimillionaire than in thousands of articles by bourgeois 
liars who try to make out that this war is being waged for 
national interests, on national issues, and utter similar glaring- 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



405 



ly patent lies which dismiss history completely and take an 
isolated example like the case of the German beast of prey 
who attacked Belgium. The case is undoubtedly a real one. 
This group of predators did attack Belgium with brutal 
ferocity, but it did the same thing the other group did yes- 
terday by other means and is doing today to other nations. 

When we argue about annexations — and this bears on the 
question I have been trying briefly to explain to you as the 
history of the economic and diplomatic relations which led 
up to the present war — when we argue about annexations 
we always forget that these, generally, are what the war 
is being waged for; it is for the carve-up of conquered terri- 
tories, or, to put it more popularly, for the division of the 
plundered spoils by the two robber gangs. When we argue 
about annexations we constantly meet with methods which, 
scientifically speaking, do not stand up to criticism, and 
which, as methods of public journalism, are deliberate hum- 
bug. Ask a Russian chauvinist or social-chauvinist what 
annexation by Germany means, and he will give you an ex- 
cellent explanation, because he understands that perfectly 
well. But he will never answer a request for a general defini- 
tion of annexation that will fit them all — Germany, Britain, 
and Russia. He will never do that! And when Rech (to pass 
from theory to practice) sneered at Pravda, saying, "These 
Pravdists consider Kurland a case of annexation! How can 
you talk to such people!" and we answered: "Please give us 
such a definition of annexation as would apply to the Ger- 
mans, the English, and the Russians, and we add that either 
you evade this issue or we shall expose you on the spot"* — 
Rech kept silent. We maintain that no newspaper, either of 
the chauvinists in general, who simply say that the father- 
land must be defended, or of the social-chauvinists, has ever 
given a definition of annexation that would fit both Germany 
and Russia, that would be applicable to any side. It cannot 
do this for the simple reason that this war is the continua- 
tion of a policy of annexations, that is, a policy of conquest, 
of capitalist robbery on the part of both groups involved 
in the war. Obviously, the question of which of these two 
robbers was the first to draw the knife is of small account 



See pp. 35-36 of this volume. — Ed. 



406 



V. I. LENIN 



to us. Take the history of the naval and military expendi- 
tures of these two groups over a period of decades, take 
the history of the little wars they waged before the big war — 
"little" because few Europeans died in those wars, whereas 
hundreds of thousands of people belonging to the nations 
they were subjugating died in them, nations which from their 
point of view could not be regarded as nations at all 
(you couldn't very well call those Asians and Africans na- 
tions!); the wars waged against these nations were wars 
against unarmed people, who were simply shot down, ma- 
chine-gunned. Can you call them wars? Strictly speaking 
they were not wars at all, and you could forget about them. 
That is their attitude to this downright deception of the 
masses. 

The present war is a continuation of the policy of conquest, 
of the shooting down of whole nationalities, of unbelievable 
atrocities committed by the Germans and the British in 
Africa, and by the British and the Russians in Persia — which 
of them committed most it is difficult to say. It was for this 
reason that the German capitalists looked upon them as 
their enemies. Ah, they said, you are strong because you are 
rich? But we are stronger, therefore we have the same "sa- 
cred" right to plunder. That is what the real history of Brit- 
ish and German finance capital in the course of several 
decades preceding the war amounts to. That is what the 
history of Russo-German, Russo-British, and German-Brit- 
ish relations amounts to. There you have the clue to an 
understanding of what the war is about. That is why the 
story that is current about the cause of the war is sheer du- 
plicity and humbug. Forgetting the history of finance capital, 
the history of how this war had been brewing over the issue 
of redivision, they present the matter like this: two nations 
were living at peace, then one attacked the other, and the 
other fought back. All science, all banks are forgotten, and 
the peoples are told to take up arms, and so are the peasants, 
who know nothing about politics. All they have to do is to 
fight back! The logical thing, following this line of argument, 
would he to close down all newspapers, burn all books and 
ban all mention of annexations in the press. In this way such 
a view of annexations could be justified. They can't tell the 
truth about annexations because the whole history of Rus- 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



407 



sia, Britain, and Germany has been one of continuous, ruth- 
less and sanguinary war over annexations. Ruthless wars 
were waged in Persia and Africa by the Liberals, who 
flogged political offenders in India for daring to put forward 
demands which were being fought for here in Russia. The 
French colonial troops oppressed peoples too. There you have 
the pre-history, the real history of unprecedented plunder! 
Such is the policy of these classes, of which the present war 
is a continuation. That is why, on the question of annexa- 
tions, they cannot give the reply that we give, when we say 
that any nation joined to another one, not by the voluntary 
choice of its majority but by a decision of a king or govern- 
ment, is an annexed nation. To renounce annexation is to 
give each nation the right to form a separate state or to live 
in union with whomsoever it chooses. An answer like that is 
perfectly clear to every worker who is at all class-conscious. 

In every resolution, of which dozens are passed, and pub- 
lished even in such a paper as Zemlya i Volya, 109 you will 
find the answer, poorly expressed: We don't want a war for 
supremacy over other nations, we are fighting for our free- 
dom. That is what all the workers and peasants say, that is 
how they express the view of the workingman, his under- 
standing of the war. They imply by this that if the war were 
in the interests of the working people against the exploiters 
they would be for such a war. So would we, and there is not 
a revolutionary party that could be against it. Where they 
go wrong, these movers of numerous resolutions, is when they 
believe that the war is being waged by them. We soldiers, 
we workers, we peasants are fighting for our freedom. I 
shall never forget the question one of them asked me after 
a meeting. "Why do you speak against the capitalists all the 
time?" he said. "I'm not a capitalist, am I? We're workers, 
we're defending our freedom." You're wrong, you are fighting 
because you are obeying your capitalist government; it's 
the governments, not the peoples, who are carrying on this 
war. I am not surprised at a worker or peasant, who doesn't 
know his politics, who has not had the good or bad fortune 
of being initiated into the secrets of diplomacy or the picture 
of this finance plunder (this oppression of Persia by Russia 
and Britain, say) — I am not surprised at him forgetting this 
history and saying naively: Who cares about the capitalists, 



408 



V. I. LENIN 



when it's me who's fighting! He doesn't understand the con- 
nection between the war and the government, he doesn't 
understand that the war is being waged by the government, 
and that he is just a tool in the hands of that government. 
He can call himself a revolutionary people and write elo- 
quent resolutions — to Russians this means a lot, because 
this has come into their lives only recently. There has re- 
cently appeared a "revolutionary" declaration by the Provi- 
sional Government. This doesn't mean anything. Other na- 
tions, more experienced than we are in the capitalist art of 
hoodwinking the masses by penning "revolutionary" mani- 
festos, have long since broken all the world's records in this 
respect. If you take the parliamentary history of the French 
Republic since it became a republic supporting tsarism, you 
will find dozens of examples during the decades of this his- 
tory when manifestos full of the most eloquent phrases served 
to mask a policy of the most outrageous colonial and finan- 
cial plunder. The whole history of the Third Republic in 
France is a history of this plunder. Such are the origins of 
the present war. It is not due to malice on the part of capi- 
talists or the mistaken policy of some monarch. To think so 
would be incorrect. No, this war is an inevitable outgrowth 
of super-capitalism, especially banking capital, which re- 
sulted in some four banks in Berlin and five or six in London 
dominating the whole world, appropriating the world's 
funds, reinforcing their financial policy by armed force, 
and finally clashing in a savage armed conflict because they 
had come to the end of their free tether in the matter of con- 
quests. One or the other side had to relinquish its colonies. 
Such questions are not settled voluntarily in this world of 
capitalists. This issue could only be settled by war. That is 
why it is absurd to blame one or another crowned brigand. 
They are all the same, these crowned brigands. That is why 
it is equally absurd to blame the capitalists of one or another 
country. All they are to blame for is for having introduced 
such a system. But this has been done in full keeping with 
the law, which is safeguarded by all the forces of a civilised 
state. "I am fully within my rights, I am a buyer of shares. 
All the law courts, all the police, the whole standing army 
and all the navies in the world are safeguarding my sacred 
right to these shares." Who's to blame for banks being set 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



409 



up which handle hundreds of millions of rubles, for these 
banks casting their nets of plunder over the whole world, 
and for their being locked in mortal combat? Find the cul- 
prit if you can! The blame lies with half a century of capi- 
talist development, and the only way out of this is by the 
overthrow of the rule of the capitalists and by a workers' 
revolution. That is the answer our Party has arrived at from 
an analysis of the war, and that is why we say: the very sim- 
ple question of annexations has been so muddled up and the 
spokesmen of the bourgeois parties have uttered so many 
lies that they are able to make out that Kurland is not an- 
nexation by Russia. They have shared Kurland and Poland 
between them, those three crowned brigands. They have been 
doing this for a hundred years, carving up the living flesh. 
And the Russian brigand snatched most because he was then 
the strongest. And now that the young beast of prey, Ger- 
many, who was then a party to the carve-up, has grown into 
a strong capitalist power, she demands a redivision. You 
want things to stay as they were? she says. You think you 
are stronger? Let's try conclusions! 

That is what the war boils down to. Of course, the chal- 
lenge "let's try conclusions" is merely an expression of the 
decade-long policy of plunder, the policy of the big banks. 
That is why no one but we can tell this truth about annexa- 
tions, a simple truth that every worker and peasant will 
understand. That is why the question of treaties, such a 
simple question, is deliberately and disgracefully confused 
by the whole press. You say that we have a revolutionary 
government, that there are ministers in that government who 
are well-nigh socialists — Narodniks and Mensheviks. But 
when they make declarations about peace without annexa- 
tions, on condition that this term is not defined (because 
it means taking away German annexations and keeping our 
own), then we say: Of what value are your "revolutionary" 
cabinet, your declarations, your statements that you are not 
out for a war of conquest, if at the same time you tell the 
army to take the offensive? Don't you know that we have 
treaties, that these treaties were concluded by Nicholas the 
Bloody in the most predatory fashion? You don't know it? 
It is pardonable for the workers or peasants not to know that. 
They did not plunder, they read no clever books. But when 



410 



V. I. LENIN 



educated Cadets preach this sort of stuff they know perfectly 
well what these treaties are about. Although they are "se- 
cret" treaties, the whole diplomatic press in all countries 
talks about them, saying: "You'll get the Straits, you'll 
get Armenia, you'll get Galicia, you'll get Alsace-Lor- 
raine, you'll get Trieste, and we'll make a final carve-up of 
Persia." And the German capitalist says: "I'll seize Egypt, 
I'll subjugate the European nations unless you return my 
colonies to me with interest." Shares are things that can't 
do without interest. That is why the question of treaties, 
itself a clear, simple question, has touched off such a torrent 
of barefaced outrageous lies as those that are now pouring 
from the pages of all the capitalist newspapers. 

Take today's paper Dyen. Vodovozov, a man absolutely 
innocent of Bolshevism, but who is an honest democrat, 
states in it: I am opposed to secret treaties; let me say this 
about the treaty with Rumania. There is a secret treaty 
with Rumania and it says that Rumania will receive a num- 
ber of foreign peoples if she fights on the side of the Allies. 
The treaties which the other Allies have are all the same. 
They wouldn't have started to subjugate nations if they had 
not had these treaties. To know their contents you do not 
have to burrow in special journals. It is sufficient to recol- 
lect the basic facts of economic and diplomatic history. For 
decades Austria has been after the Balkans with an eye to 
subjugation. And if they have clashed it is because they 
couldn't help clashing. That is why, when the masses de- 
mand that these treaties should be published, a demand that 
is growing more insistent every day, ex-Minister Milyukov 
and the present Minister Tereshchenko (one in a government 
without socialist ministers, the other in a government 
with a number of near-socialist ministers) declare that 
publication of the treaties would mean a break with the 
Allies. 

Obviously, you can't publish the treaties because you 
are all participants in the same gang of robbers. We agree 
with Milyukov and Tereshchenko that the treaties cannot 
be published. Two different conclusions can be drawn from 
this. If we agree with Milyukov and Tereshchenko that the 
treaties cannot be published — what follows from this? If 
the treaties cannot be published, then we've got to help the 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



411 



capitalist ministers continue the war. The other conclu- 
sion is this: since the capitalists cannot publish the treaties 
themselves, then the capitalists have got to be overthrown. 
Which of these two conclusions you consider to be correct, 
I leave it to you to decide, but be sure to consider the conse- 
quences. If we reason the way the Narodnik and Menshevik 
ministers reason, we come to this: once the government says 
that the treaties cannot be published, then we must issue 
a new manifesto. Paper is not so dear yet that we cannot 
write new manifestos. We shall write a new manifesto and 
start an offensive. What for? With what aims? Who is to set 
these aims? The soldiers are called upon to carry out the 
predatory treaties with Rumania and France. Send Vodo- 
vozov's article to the front and then complain that this is 
all the Bolsheviks' doing, the Bolsheviks must have invented 
this treaty-with-Rumania business. In that case you would 
not only have to make life a hell for Pravda, but even kick 
Vodovozov out for having studied history. You would have 
to make a bonfire of all Milyukov's books — terribly dan- 
gerous books those. Just open any book by the leader of the 
party of "people's freedom", by this ex-Minister of Foreign 
Affairs. They are good books. What do they say? They say 
that Russia has "a right" to the Straits, to Armenia, to Ga- 
licia, to Eastern Prussia. He has carved them all up, and even 
appends a map. Not only the Bolsheviks and Vodovozov will 
have to be sent to Siberia for writing such revolutionary 
articles, but Milyukov's books will have to be burnt too, 
because if you collected simple quotations from these books 
today and sent them to the front, no inflammatory leaflet 
would have such an inflammatory effect as this would 
have. 

It remains for me now, according to the brief plan of this 
talk I have sketched for myself, to touch on the question of 
"revolutionary defencism". I believe, after what I have had 
the honour of reporting to you, that I may now be allowed 
to touch only briefly on this question. 

By "revolutionary defencism" we mean vindication of 
the war on the plea that, after all, we have made the revo- 
lution, after all, we are a revolutionary people, a revolu- 
tionary democracy. But what answer do we give to that? What 
revolution did we make? We overthrew Nicholas. The revo- 



412 



V. I. LENIN 



lution was not so very difficult compared with one that 
would have overthrown the whole class of landowners and 
capitalists. Who did the revolution put in power? The land- 
owners and capitalists — the very same classes who have long 
been in power in Europe. Revolutions like this occurred there 
a hundred years ago. The Tereshchenkos, Milyukovs, and 
Konovalovs have been in power there for a long time, and it 
doesn't matter a bit whether they have a civil list to pay 
their tsars or whether they do without this luxury. A bank re- 
mains a bank, whether capital is invested in concessions by the 
hundred or not; profits remain profits, be it in a republic or in 
a monarchy. If any savage country dares to disobey our civi- 
lised Capital, which sets up such splendid banks in the 
colonies, in Africa and Persia — if any savage nation should 
disobey our civilised bank, we send troops out who restore 
culture, order, and civilisation, as Lyakhov did in Persia, 110 
and the French "republican" troops did in Africa, where they 
exterminated peoples with equal ferocity. What difference 
does it make? We have here the same "revolutionary defen- 
cism", displayed only by the unenlightened masses, who see 
no connection between war and the government, who do not 
know that this policy is sanctioned by treaties. The treaties 
have remained, the banks have remained, the concessions 
have remained. In Russia the best men of their class are in the 
government, but the nature of the war has not changed a bit 
because of this. The new "revolutionary defencism" uses 
the great concept of revolution merely as a cloak to cover 
up the dirty and bloody war waged for the sake of dirty and 
outrageous treaties. 

The Russian revolution has not altered the war, but it 
has created organisations which exist in no other country 
and were seldom found in revolutions in the West. Most of 
the revolutions were confined to the emergence of govern- 
ments of our Tereshchenko and Konovalov, type, while the 
country remained passive and disorganised. The Russian 
revolution has gone further than that. In this we have the 
germ of hope that it may overcome the war. Besides the 
government of "near-socialist" ministers, the government 
of imperialist war, the government of offensive, a govern- 
ment tied up with Anglo-French capital — besides this 
government and independent of it we have all over Russia a 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



413 



network of Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' 
Deputies. Here is a revolution which has not said its last 
word yet. Here is a revolution which Western Europe, 
under similar conditions, has not known. Here are organisa- 
tions of those classes which really have no need for annexa- 
tions, which have not put millions in the banks, and which 
are probably not interested in whether the Russian Colonel 
Lyakhov and the British Liberal ambassador divided Persia 
properly or not. Here is the pledge of this revolution being 
carried further, i.e., that the classes which have no interest 
in annexations, and despite the fact that they put too much 
trust in the capitalist government, despite the appalling 
muddle and appalling deception contained in the very 
concept "revolutionary defencism", despite the fact that they 
support the war loan, support the government of imperial- 
ist war — despite all this — have succeeded in creating organ- 
isations in which the mass of the oppressed classes are rep- 
resented. These are the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and 
Peasants' Deputies, which, in very many local areas in 
Russia, have gone much further than the Petrograd Soviet in 
their revolutionary work. It is only natural, because in 
Petrograd we have the central authority of the capital- 
ists. 

And when Skobelev in his speech yesterday said: "We'll 
take all the profits, we'll take 100 per cent," he was just 
letting himself go with ministerial elan. If you take today's 
Rech you will see what the response is to this passage in 
Skobelev's speech. They write there: "Why, this means star- 
vation, death! One hundred per cent means all!" Minister 
Skobelev goes farther than the most extreme Bolshevik. 
It's slandering the Bolsheviks to say that they are the 
extreme Left. Minister Skobelev is much more "Left". They 
called me all the ugly names they could think of, saying that 
I wanted to take their last shirt from the capitalists. At any 
rate, it was Shulgin who said: "Let them take our last shirt!" 
Imagine a Bolshevik going up to Citizen Shulgin and wanting 
to take his shirt from him. He could just as well and with 
greater justification accuse Minister Skobelev of this. We 
never went as far as that. We never suggested taking 100 per 
cent of profits. Nevertheless, it is a valuable promise. If you 
take the resolution of our Party you will see that we pro- 



414 



V. I. LENIN 



pose there, only in a more closely reasoned form, exactly 
what I have been proposing. Control must be established 
over the banks, followed by a fair tax on incomes.* And 
nothing more! Skobelev suggests taking a hundred kopeks 
in the ruble. We proposed and propose nothing of the sort. 
Skobelev doesn't really mean it, and if he does he would 
not be able to do it for the simple reason that to promise 
such things while making friends with Tereshchenko and 
Konovalov is somewhat ludicrous. You could take 80 or 
90 per cent of a millionaire's income, but not arm in arm with 
such ministers. If the Soviets had the power they would 
really take it, but not all of it — they have no need to. 
They would take the bulk of the income. No other state 
authority could do that. Minister Skobelev may have the 
best of intentions. I have known those parties for several 
decades — I have been in the revolutionary movement for 
thirty years. I am the last person, therefore, to question their 
good intentions. But that is not the point. It is not a question 
of good intentions. Good intentions pave the road to hell. 
All the government offices are full of papers signed by our 
ministers, but nothing has changed as a result of it. If you 
want to introduce control, start it! Our programme is such 
that in reading Skobelev's speech we can say: we do not 
demand more. We are much more moderate than Minister 
Skobelev. He proposes both control and 100 per cent. We 
don't want to take 100 per cent, but we say: "Until you start 
doing things we don't believe you!" Here lies the difference 
between us: we don't believe words and promises and don't 
advise others to believe them. The lessons of parliamentary 
republics teach us not to believe in paper utterances. If you 
want control, you've got to start it. One day is enough to 
have a law on such control issued. The employees' council 
at every bank, the workers' council at every factory, and all 
the parties receive the right of control. But you can't do 
that, we shall be told. This is a commercial secret, this is 
sacred private property. Well, just as you like, make your 
choice. If you want to safeguard all those ledgers and ac- 
counts, all the transactions of the trusts, then don't chatter 
about control, about the country going to ruin. 



See p. 311 of this volume.— Ed. 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



415 



In Germany the situation is still worse. In Russia you can 
get grain but in Germany you can't. You can do a lot in 
Russia through organisation, but you can do nothing more 
in Germany. There is no more grain left, and the whole 
nation is faced with disaster. People today write that Rus- 
sia is on the brink of ruin. If that is so, then it is a crime to 
safeguard "sacred" private property. Therefore, what do the 
words about control mean? Surely you haven't forgotten 
that Nicholas Romanov, too, wrote a good deal about con- 
trol. You will find him repeating a thousand times the words 
"state control", "public control", "appointment of senators". 
In the two months following the revolution the industrial- 
ists have robbed the whole of Russia. Capitalists have made 
staggering profits; every financial report tells you that. And 
when the workers, two months after the revolution, had the 
"audacity" to say they wanted to live like human beings, 
the whole capitalist press throughout the country set up a 
howl. Every number of Rech is a wild howl about the work- 
ers wanting to rob the country, but all we promise is mere- 
ly control over the capitalists. Can't we have less promises 
and more deeds? If what you want is bureaucratic control, 
control through the same organs as before, our Party declares 
its profound conviction that you cannot be given support in 
this, even if there were a dozen Narodnik and Menshevik 
ministers in your government instead of half a dozen. Con- 
trol can only be exercised by the people. You must arrange 
control by bank employees' councils, engineers' councils, 
and workers' councils, and start that control right away, 
tomorrow. Every official should be made responsible, on 
pain of criminal persecution, for any wrong information he 
may give in any of these institutions. It is a matter of life 
and death to the country. We want to know how much grain 
there is, how much raw material, how many work hands 
there are and where they are to be placed. 

This brings me to the last question — that of how to end 
the war. The ridiculous view is ascribed to us that we are 
out for a separate peace. The German robber capitalists are 
making peace overtures, saying: "We'll give you a piece of 
Turkey and Armenia if you give us ore-bearing lands. That 
is what the diplomats are talking about in every neutral 
city! Everybody knows it. Only it is veiled with conventional 



416 



V. I. LENIN 



diplomatic phrases. That's what diplomats are for — to 
speak in diplomatic language. What nonsense it is to allege 
that we are for ending the war by a separate peace! To end 
the war which is being waged by the capitalists of all the 
wealthiest powers, a war stemming from the decade-long 
history of economic development, by one-sided withdrawal 
from military operations is such a stupid idea that it would 
be absurd even to refute it. The fact that we specially drew 
up a resolution to refute it is because we wanted to explain 
things to the broad masses before whom we were being slan- 
dered. It is not a matter that can be seriously discussed. The 
war which the capitalists of all countries are waging cannot 
be ended without a workers' revolution against these capi- 
talists. So long as control remains a mere phrase instead of 
deed, so long as the government of the capitalists has not 
been replaced by a government of the revolutionary prole- 
tariat, the government is doomed merely to reiterate: We 
are heading for disaster, disaster, disaster. Socialists are now 
being jailed in "free" Britain for saying what I am saying. 
In Germany Liebknecht has been imprisoned for saying what 
I am saying, and in Austria Friedrich Adler is in jail for 
saying the same thing with the help of a revolver (he may 
have been executed by now). The sympathy of the mass of 
workers in all countries is with these socialists and not with 
those who have sided with their capitalists. The workers' 
revolution is mounting throughout the world. In other coun- 
tries it is a more difficult matter, of course. They have no 
half-wits there like Nicholas and Rasputin. There the best 
men of their class are at the head of the government. They 
lack conditions there for a revolution against autocracy. 
They have there a government of the capitalist class. The 
most talented representatives of that class have been 
governing there for a long time. That is why the revolution 
there, though it has not come yet, is bound to come, no 
matter how many revolutionaries, men like Friedrich 
Adler and Karl Liebknecht, may die in the attempt. 
The future belongs to them, and the workers of all countries 
follow their lead. The workers in all countries are bound 
to win. 

On the question of America entering the war I shall say 
this. People argue that America is a democracy, America 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



417 



has the White House. I say: Slavery was abolished there half 
a century ago. The anti-slave war ended in 1865. Since then 
multimillionaires have mushroomed. They have the whole 
of America in their financial grip. They are making ready to 
subdue Mexico and will inevitably come to war with Japan 
over a carve-up of the Pacific. This war has been brewing 
for several decades. All literature speaks about it. Ameri- 
ca's real aim in entering the war is to prepare for this future 
war with Japan. The American people do enjoy considerable 
freedom and it is difficult to conceive them standing for 
compulsory military service, for the setting up of an army 
pursuing any aims of conquest — a struggle with Japan, for 
instance. The Americans have the example of Europe to 
show them what this leads to. The American capitalists 
have stepped into this war in order to have an excuse, 
behind a smoke-screen of lofty ideals championing the 
rights of small nations, for building up a strong standing 
army. 

The peasants refuse to give up their grain for money and 
demand implements, boots, and clothes. There is a great 
measure of profound truth in this decision. Indeed, the coun- 
try has reached a stage of ruin when it now faces the same 
situation, although to a less intensive degree, that other 
countries have long been facing, a situation in which money 
has lost its value. The rule of capitalism is being so strongly 
undermined by the whole course of events that the peasants, 
for instance, refuse to accept money. They say: "What do 
we want money for?" And they are right. The rule of capi- 
talism is being undermined not because somebody is out 
to seize power. "Seizure" of power would be senseless. It 
would be impossible to put an end to the rule of capitalism 
if the whole course of economic development in the capital- 
ist countries did not lead up to it. The war has speeded up 
this process, and this has made capitalism impossible. No 
power could destroy capitalism if it were not sapped and 
undermined by history. 

And now we see this clearly demonstrated. The peasant 
expresses what everybody sees — that the power of money 
has been undermined. The only way out is for the Soviets to 
agree to give implements, boots, and clothes in exchange 
for grain. This is what we are coming to, this is the answer 



418 



V. I. LENIN 



that life dictates. Without this, tens of millions of people 
will go hungry, without clothes and boots. Tens of millions 
of people are facing disaster and death; safeguarding the 
interests of the capitalists is the last thing that should bother 
us. The only way out is for all power to be transferred to the 
Soviets, which represent the majority of the population. 
Possibly mistakes may be made in the process. No one claims 
that such a difficult task can be disposed of offhand. We 
do not say anything of the sort. We are told that we want 
the power to be in the hands of the Soviets, but they don't 
want it. We say that life's experience will suggest this solu- 
tion to them, and the whole nation will see that there is no 
other way out. We do not want a "seizure" of power, because 
the entire experience of past revolutions teaches us that the 
only stable power is the one that has the backing of the major- 
ity of the population. "Seizure" of power, therefore, would 
be adventurism, and our Party will not have it. If the govern- 
ment will be a government of the majority, it may perhaps 
embark on a policy that will prove, at first, to be erroneous, 
but there is no other way out. We shall then have a peaceful 
policy shift within the same organisations. No other organ- 
isations can be invented. That is why we say that no other 
solution of the question is conceivable. 

How can the war be ended? If the Soviet were to assume 
power and the Germans continued the war — what would we 
do then? Anyone interested in the views of our Party could 
have read in Pravda the other day an exact quotation of 
what we said abroad as far back as 1915, namely, that if 
the revolutionary class in Russia, the working class, comes 
to power, it will have to offer peace. And if our terms are 
rejected by the German capitalists or by the capitalists 
of any other country, then that class will stand wholly for 
war.* We are not suggesting that the war be ended at one 
blow. We do not promise that. We preach no such impos- 
sible and impracticable thing as that the war can be ended 
by the will of one side alone. Such promises are easy to give 
but impossible to fulfil. There is no easy way out of this 
terrible war. It has been going on for three years. You will 



See p. 394 of this volume.— Ed. 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



419 



go on fighting for ten years unless you accept the idea of a 
difficult and painful revolution. There is no other way out. 
We say: The war which the capitalist governments have started 
can only be ended by a workers' revolution. Those inter- 
ested in the socialist movement should read the Basle Mani- 
festo of 1912 adopted unanimously by all the socialist parties 
of the world, a manifesto that was published in our news- 
paper Pravda, a manifesto that can be published now in 
none of the belligerent countries, neither in "free" Britain 
nor in republican France, because it said the truth about 
war before the war. It said that there would be war between 
Britain and Germany as a result of capitalist competition. 
It said that so much powder had accumulated that the guns 
would start shooting of their own accord. It told us what 
the war would be fought for, and said that the war would 
lead to a proletarian revolution. Therefore, we tell those 
socialists who signed this Manifesto and then went over to 
the side of their capitalist governments that they have be- 
trayed socialism. There has been a split among the socialists 
all over the world. Some are in ministerial cabinets, others 
in prison. All over the world some socialists are preaching 
a war build-up, while others, like Eugene Debs, the Ameri- 
can Bebel, who enjoys immense popularity among the Amer- 
ican workers, say: "I'd rather be shot than give a cent to- 
wards the war. I'm willing to fight only the proletariat's 
war against the capitalists all over the world." That is how 
the socialists have split throughout the world. The world's 
social-patriots think they are defending their country. They 
are mistaken — they are defending the interests of one band 
of capitalists against another. We preach proletarian revo- 
lution — the only true cause, for which scores of people have 
gone to the scaffold, and hundreds and thousands have been 
thrown into prison. These imprisoned socialists are a minor- 
ity, but the working class is for them, the whole course of 
economic development is for them. All this tells us that there 
is no other way out. The only way to end this war is by a 
workers' revolution in several countries. In the meantime 
we should make preparations for that revolution, we should 
assist it. For all its hatred of war and desire for peace, the 
Russian people could do nothing against the war, so long 
as it was being waged by the tsar, except work for a revolu- 



420 



V. I. LENIN 



tion against the tsar and for the tsar's overthrow. And that 
is what happened. History proved this to you yesterday and 
will prove it to you tomorrow. We said long ago that the 
mounting Russian revolution must be assisted. We said that 
at the end of 1914. Our Duma deputies were deported to 
Siberia for this, and we were told: "You are giving no an- 
swer. You talk about revolution when the strikes are off, when 
the deputies are doing hard labour, and when you haven't a 
single newspaper!" And we were accused of evading an an- 
swer. We heard those accusations for a number of years. We 
answered: You can be indignant about it, but so long as the 
tsar has not been overthrown we can do nothing against the 
war. And our prediction was justified. It is not fully justi- 
fied yet, but it has already begun to receive justification. 
The revolution is beginning to change the war on Russia's 
part. The capitalists are still continuing the war, and we 
say: Until there is a workers' revolution in several countries 
the war cannot be stopped, because the people who want that 
war are still in power. We are told: "In a number of countries 
everything seems to be asleep. In Germany all the socialists 
to a man are for the war, and Liebknecht is the only one 
against it." To this I say: This only one, Liebknecht, repre- 
sents the working class. The hopes of all are in him alone, 
in his supporters, in the German proletariat. You don't 
believe this? Carry on with the war then! There is no other 
way. If you don't believe in Liebknecht, if you don't believe 
in the workers' revolution, a revolution that is coming to 
a head — if you don't believe this, then believe the capi- 
talists! 

Nothing but a workers' revolution in several countries 
can defeat this war. The war is not a game, it is an appal- 
ling thing taking toll of millions of lives, and it is not to be 
ended easily. 

The soldiers at the front cannot tear the front away from 
the rest of the state and settle things their own way. The 
soldiers at the front are a part of the country. So long as 
the country is at war the front will suffer along with the 
rest. Nothing can be done about it. The war has been brought 
about by the ruling classes and only a revolution of the 
working class can end it. Whether you will get a speedy 
peace or not depends on how the revolution will develop. 



WAR AND REVOLUTION 



421 



Whatever sentimental things may be said, however much 
we may be told: Let us end the war immediately — this can- 
not be done without the development of the revolution. 
When power passes to the Soviets the capitalists will come 
out against us. Japan, France, Britain — the governments 
of all countries will be against us. The capitalists will be 
against, but the workers will be for us. That will be the end 
of the war which the capitalists started. There you have the 
answer to the question of how to end the war. 



First published April 23, 1929 
in Pravda No. 23 



Published according to 
the shorthand report 



422 



DESPICABLE METHODS 

A whole congress of delegates from the front, 111 in a 
resolution adopted unanimously on May 13, condemns the 
shabby methods which Rech uses to slander our Comrade 
Zinoviev and sow discord between the army and the Bolshe- 
viks. The worthy gentlemen of Rech have no intention, of 
course, of publishing the resolution of the congress of front- 
line delegates, although a copy of it was forwarded to the 
paper by the congress. Instead, that disreputable newspaper 
is keeping up its smear campaign against our paper and Com- 
rade Zinoviev in a deliberate attempt to provoke a minor 
riot. 

"Pravda regularly publishes reports about Germany which 
are to be found in no other paper. Where, how does Pravda 
get its special [!] information?" Rech asks significantly in 
an article significantly entitled "Curious Sources of Informa- 
tion". 

Where, Messrs. Slanderers? 

From the telegrams and letters of our correspondent, 
Comrade Radek, the Polish Social-Democrat, who spent a 
number of years in tsarist prisons, who has been active for 
over ten years in the ranks of the German Social-Democrats, 
who has been expelled from Germany on account of his 
revolutionary agitation against Wilhelm and against the 
war, and who has gone specially to Stockholm to keep us sup- 
plied with information. From letters and telegrams, Messrs. 
Cadets, which your servants who rule the roost on the Rus- 
sian-Swedish frontier are not always able to intercept, from 
newspaper cuttings and illegal German newspapers and 
leaflets, which our friends, the followers of Karl Liebknecht, 
send us, in exactly the same way as we receive similar mate- 



DESPICABLE METHODS 



423 



rial about France from the French socialist-internationalist 
Henri Guilbeaux, friend of Romain Rolland and associate of 
the well-known French internationalist Comrade Loriot. 

"The German General Staff has banned fraternisation," 
we wrote in Pravda on the basis of information recently 
published in all the Russian newspapers. The Rech slander- 
ers make big eyes at this and counter it with the statement 
of the Russian War Minister that "all sectors of the front 
where fraternisation took place have been destroyed by the 
enemy's artillery". 

We do not know, of course, whether this report about 
destroyed sectors is true or not. But if it is true, it confirms 
rather than refutes the report that the German General Staff 
is opposed to fraternisation. It is obvious that by destroying 
the sectors where fraternisation occurred, the German 
General Staff is discouraging fraternisation both on the part 
of the Russian soldiers and of those honest German soldiers 
who do not want to use fraternisation as a trap. 

You are not very convincing, you gentlemen counterfeit- 
ers of the Cadet Party! 

In conclusion, one more of their lies: "At the Peasant 
Congress, as we know, Zinoviev was not given a chance to 
finish his speech," writes Milyukov's mouthpiece. "As we 
know", you are lying again, gentlemen of the Cadet Party, 
just as you lied about the congress of front-line delegates. 
Things must be pretty bad for you, gentlemen, if you are 
compelled to resort to such shameless and despicable 
methods. 



Pravda No. 58, 
May 29 (16), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



424 



INEVITABLE CATASTROPHE 
AND EXTRAVAGANT PROMISES 

(ARTICLE ONE) 

The inevitable debacle, the catastrophe of unprecedented 
dimensions that is facing us is of such importance that we 
must dwell on this question again and again if we are to 
fully grasp its implications. In the last issue of Pravda we 
said that the programme of the Executive Committee of 
the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies no longer 
differs in any way from that of "terrible" Bolshevism.* 

Today we must point out that the programme of the Men- 
shevik Minister Skobelev goes even further than Bolshevism. 
Here is the programme, as reported in the ministerial 
paper, Rech: 

"The Minister [Skobelev] declared that '...the country's economy 
is on the brink of disaster. We must intervene in all fields of economic 
life, as there is no money in the Treasury. We must improve the condi- 
tion of the working masses, and to do that we must take the profits 
from the tills of the businessmen and bankers'. (Voice in the audience: 
'How?') 'By ruthless taxation of property,' replied the Minister of 
Labour, Skobelev. 'It is a method known to the science of finance. 
The rate of taxation on the propertied classes must be increased to 
one hundred per cent of their profits.' (Voice in the audience: 'That 
means everything.') 'Unfortunately,' declared Skobelev, 'many cor- 
porations have already distributed their dividends among the share- 
holders, and we must therefore levy a progressive personal tax on the 
propertied classes. We will go even further, and, if the capitalists 
wish to preserve the bourgeois method of business, let them work 

without interest, so as not to lose their clients We must introduce 

compulsory labour service for the shareholders, bankers and factory 



See p. 396 of this volume.— Ed. 



INEVITABLE CATASTROPHE AND EXTRAVAGANT PROMISES 425 



owners, who are in a rather slack mood because the incentive that 

formerly stimulated them to work is now lacking We must force 

the shareholders to submit to the state; they, too, must be subject to 
labour service.'" 

We advise the workers to read and reread this programme, 
to discuss it and go into the matter of its practicability. 

The important thing is the conditions necessary for its 
fulfilment, and the taking of immediate steps towards its 
fulfilment. 

This programme in itself is an excellent one and coin- 
cides with the Bolshevik programme, except that in one par- 
ticular it goes even further than our programme, namely, 
it promises to "take the profits from the tills of the bankers" 
to the extent of "one hundred per cent". 

Our Party is much more moderate. Its resolution demands 
much less than this, namely, the mere establishment of 
control over the banks and the "gradual [just listen, the 
Bolsheviks are for gradualness!] introduction of a more just 
progressive tax on incomes and properties". 

Our Party is more moderate than Skobelev. 

Skobelev dispenses immoderate, nay, extravagant prom- 
ises, without understanding the conditions required for their 
practical realisation. 

That is the crux of the matter. 

It is impossible not only to realise Skobelev's programme, 
but even to make any serious efforts towards its realisa- 
tion, either arm in arm with ten ministers from the party of 
the landowners and capitalists, or with the bureaucratic, 
official-ridden machine to which the government of the capi- 
talists (plus a few Mensheviks and Narodniks) is perforce 
limited. 

Less promises, Citizen Skobelev, and more practicalness. 
Less rhetoric and more understanding as to how to get down 
to business. 

And get down to business we can and should immediately, 
without a day's delay, if we are to save the country from an 
inevitable and terrible catastrophe. But the whole thing 
is that the "new" Provisional Government does not want 
to get down to business; and even if it wanted to, it could 
not, for it is fettered by a thousand chains which safeguard 
the interests of capital. 



426 



V. I. LENIN 



We can and should in a single day call upon the people 
to get down to business; we can and should in a single day 
issue a decree immediately convening: 

1) Councils and congresses of bank employees, both of 
individual banks and on a national scale, to work out imme- 
diate practical measures for amalgamating all banks and 
banking houses into a single State Bank, and exercising 
precise control over all banking operations, the results of 
such control to be published forthwith; 

2) Councils and congresses of employees of all syndicates 
and trusts to work out measures for control and accountancy; 
the results of such control to be published forthwith; 

3) This decree should grant the right of control not only 
to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Depu- 
ties, but also to councils of the workers at every large 
factory, as well as to the representatives of every large politi- 
cal party (those parties should be regarded as large parties 
which, for example, on May 12 put forward independent 
lists of candidates in not less than two Petrograd districts); 
all ledgers and documents to be open to control; 

4) The decree should call upon all shareholders, directors 
and members of the boards of all companies to publish the 
names of all shareholders owning stock to an amount of 
not less than 10,000 (or 5,000) rubles, together with a list 
of stocks and companies in which these persons are "interest- 
ed"; false statements (made to the controlling bodies of the 
bank and other employees) shall be punished by confiscation 
of all property and by imprisonment for a term of not less 
than five years; 

5) The decree should call upon the people to establish 
immediately, through the local organs of self-government, 
universal labour service, for the control and enforcement 
of which a universal people's militia should be established 
(in the rural districts directly, in the cities through the 
workers' militia). 

Without universal labour service, the country cannot 
be saved from ruin; and without a people's militia, universal 
labour service cannot be effected. This will be obvious to 
everyone who has not reached a state of ministerial insanity 
or has not had his brain turned by putting too much trust 
in ministerial eloquence. 



INEVITABLE CATASTROPHE AND EXTRAVAGANT PROMISES 427 



Every person is bound to stand for such measures if he 
really wishes to save tens of millions from ruin and disaster. 

In the next article we shall deal with the question of the 
gradual introduction of a more equitable system of taxation, 
and also what should be done to advance from among the 
people and gradually place in ministerial positions really 
gifted organisers (both from among the workers and the 
capitalists) who have given a good account of themselves 
in this kind of work. 

(ARTICLE TWO) 

When Skobelev, with ministerial elan, talked himself 
into taking one hundred per cent of the capitalists' profits, 
he furnished us with a specimen of claptrap. This kind of 
phrase-mongering is always used in bourgeois parliamentary 
republics to hoodwink the people. 

But here we have something worse than mere phrase-mon- 
gering. "If the capitalists wish to preserve the bourgeois 
method of business, let them work without interest, so as 
not to lose their clients," Skobelev said. This sounds like a 
"terrible" threat to the capitalists; but in fact, it is an at- 
tempt (unconscious probably on the part of Skobelev, but 
certainly conscious on the part of the capitalists) to make 
safe the rule of almighty capital by a temporary sacrifice of 
profits. 

The workers are taking "too much", say the capitalists; 
let us make them responsible without giving them either 
power or the opportunity to effectively control production. 
Let us sacrifice our profits for a time; by "preserving the bour- 
geois method of business and not losing our clients", we shall 
hasten the collapse of this transitory stage in industry, we 
shall disorganise it in every possible way and lay the blame 
on the workers. 

That such is the plan of the capitalists is proved by the 
facts. The colliery owners in the South are actually disorgan- 
ising production, are "deliberately neglecting and disorgan- 
ising it" (see Novaya Zhizn for May 16 reporting statements 
made by a workers' delegation 112 ). The picture is clear: 
Rech is lying brazenly when it puts the blame on the work- 
ers. The colliery owners are "deliberately disorganising 



428 



V. I. LENIN 



production"; and Skobelev sings his song: "If the capitalists 
wish to preserve the bourgeois method of business, let them 
work without interest." The position is clear. 

It is to the advantage of the capitalists and the bureaucrats 
to make "extravagant promises", diverting people's atten- 
tion away from the main thing, namely, the transfer of real 
control to the workers. 

The workers must sweep aside all high-sounding phrases, 
promises, declarations, project-mongering by bureaucrats 
in the centre, who are ever ready to draw up spectacular 
plans, rules, regulations, and standards. Down with all this 
lying! Down with all this hullabaloo of bureaucratic and 
bourgeois project-mongering which has everywhere ended 
in smoke. Down with this habit of shelving things! The 
workers must demand the immediate establishment of 
genuine control, to be exercised by the workers themselves. 

That is the most important condition of success, success 
in averting catastrophe. If that is lacking, all else is sheer 
deception. If we have it, we need not be in a hurry to "take 
one hundred per cent of the profits". We can and should 
be more moderate; we should gradually introduce a more 
equitable system of taxation; we shall differentiate between 
the small and large shareholders; we shall take very little 
from the former, and a great deal (but not necessarily all) 
from the latter only. The number of large shareholders is 
insignificant; but the role they play, like the wealth they 
possess, is tremendous. It may safely be said that if one were 
to draw up a list of the five or even three thousand (or perhaps 
even one thousand) of Russia's wealthiest men, or if one were 
to trace (by means of control exercised from below, by bank, 
syndicate, and other employees) all the threads and ties of 
their finance capital, their banking connections, there would 
be revealed the whole complexus of capitalist domination, 
the vast body of wealth amassed at the expense of the labour 
of others, all the essential roots of "control" over the social 
production and distribution of goods. 

It is this control that must be handed over to the workers. 
It is this complexus, these roots, that the interests of capital 
require to be concealed from the people. Better forego for 
time "all" our profits, or ninety-nine per cent of our income, 
than disclose to the people these roots of our power — thus 



INEVITABLE CATASTROPHE AND EXTRAVAGANT PROMISES 429 



reason the capitalist class and its unconscious servant, the 
government official. 

Under no circumstances shall we relinquish our right, our 
demand that this citadel of finance capital be disclosed to 
the people, that it be placed under workers' control — thus 
reasons the class-conscious worker. And every passing day 
will prove the correctness of this reasoning to growing 
masses of the poor, to a growing majority of the people, to 
a growing number of sincere people who are honestly seeking 
a way to avert disaster. 

This citadel of finance capital has to be taken if all those 
phrases and projects for averting disaster are not to 
remain sheer deception. As far as individual capitalists, or 
even most of the capitalists, are concerned, the proletariat 
has no intention of "taking their last shirt from them" (as 
Shulgin has been "scaring" himself and his friends), has no 
intention of taking "everything" from them. On the contrary, 
it intends to put them on useful and honourable jobs — under 
the control of the workers. 

The most useful and indispensable job for the people at 
this moment of impending catastrophe is that of organisa- 
tion. Marvels of proletarian organisation — that is our 
slogan now, and will become our slogan and our demand 
doubly so when the proletariat is in power. Without the 
organisation of the masses it will be absolutely impossible 
either to introduce universal labour service, which is abso- 
lutely essential, or establish any at all serious control over 
the banks and syndicates and over the production and dis- 
tribution of goods. 

That is why it is necessary to begin, and begin immedi- 
ately, with a workers' militia, in order that we may proceed 
gradually, but firmly and intelligently, to the creation of 
a people's militia and the replacement of the police and the 
standing army by the universally armed people. That is 
why it is necessary to advance talented organisers from among 
all sections of society, from among all classes, not excepting 
the capitalists, who at present have more of the required 
experience. There are many such talents among the people. 
Such forces lie dormant among the peasantry and the prole- 
tariat for lack of application. They must be advanced from 
below in the course of practical work, such as the efficient 



430 



V. I. LENIN 



elimination of queues in a given district, skilful organisation 
of house committees, domestic servants, and model farms, 
proper management of factories that have been taken 
over by the workers, and so on and so forth. When these 
have been advanced from below in the course of practical 
work, and their abilities tested in practice, they should all 
be promoted to "ministers" — not in the old sense of the term, 
not in the sense of giving them portfolios, but by appointing 
them national instructors, travelling organisers, assistants 
in the business of establishing everywhere the strictest order, 
the greatest economy in human labour, the strictest com- 
radely discipline. 

That is what the party of the proletariat must preach 
to the people as the means of averting disaster. That is what 
it must start carrying out now in part in those localities 
where it is gaining power. That is what it must carry out 
in full when it assumes state power. 



Pravda No. 58 and 59, 
May 29 and 30 (16 and 17), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



431 



THE QUESTION OF UNITING 
THE INTERNATIONALISTS 

The All-Russia Conference of our Party passed a resolu- 
tion recognising that closer relations and unity with groups 
and trends that have adopted a real internationalist stand 
are necessary on the basis of a definite break with the policy 
of petty-bourgeois betrayal of socialism.* 

The question of unity was also recently discussed at a 
conference of the Inter-District Organisation of the United 
Social-Democrats of Petrograd. 

In compliance with the decision of the All-Russia Con- 
ference, the Central Committee of our Party, recognising 
the extreme desirability of union with the Inter-District 
Organisation, advanced the following proposals (they were 
first made to the Inter-District Organisation only in the 
name of Comrade Lenin and a few other members of the Cen- 
tral Committee, but were subsequently approved by the 
majority of the members of the Central Committee): 

"Unity is desirable immediately. 

"The Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic 
Labour Party will be asked to include a representative of 
the Inter-District Organisation on the staff of each of the 
two papers (the present Pravda, which is to be converted into 
an All-Russia popular newspaper, and the Central Organ 
to be established in the near future). 

"The Central Committee will be asked to set up a special 
Organising Committee to summon a Party Congress (in 
six weeks' time). The Inter-District Conference will be 
entitled to appoint two delegates to this committee. If the 
Mensheviks, adherents of Martov, break with the 'defencists', 



See p. 294 of this volume.™ Ed. 



432 



V. I. LENIN 



it would be desirable and essential to include their delegates 
on the above-mentioned committee. 

"Free discussion of controversial issues shall be ensured 
by the publication of discussion leaflets by Priboi Publishers 
and by free discussion in the journal Prosveshcheniye (Kom- 
munist), 113 publication of which is being resumed." 

(Draft read by N. Lenin on May 10, 1917, in his own name 
and in the name of several members of the Central Commit- 
tee.) 

The Inter-District Organisation, for their part, passed 
a different resolution, which reads: 

"On unity. Realising that only by the closest consolidation of all 
its revolutionary forces can the proletariat 

"1) become the foremost fighter in clearing the way for socialism; 

"2) become the leader of Russian democracy in its struggle against 
the survivals of the semi-feudal regime and the heritage of tsarism; 

"3) fight out the revolution and finally settle the questions of war 
and peace, the confiscation of the land, the eight-hour day, etc., 

"the Conference is of the opinion 

"a) that a consolidation of forces, so indispensable to the proletar- 
iat, can be achieved only under the banner of Zimmerwald and Kien- 
thal, and the programme and decisions of the Party of the years 1908 
and 1910, 1912 and 1913; 

"b) that not a single labour organisation, be it a trade union, an 
educational club, or a consumers' co-operative society, and not a single 
labour newspaper or periodical should refrain from enlisting under 
that banner; 

"c) at the same time, the Conference declares itself to be decidedly 
and ardently in favour of unity on the basis of those decisions." 

Which of these resolutions will be quicker in bringing 
about unity is a question for all internationalist workers to 
discuss and decide. 

The political resolutions of the Inter-District Organisation 
have in general adopted the sound course of breaking with 
the "defencists". 

Under the circumstances, any division of forces would, 
in our opinion, be utterly unjustifiable. 



Pravda No. 60, Published according 

May 31 (18), 1917 to the text in Pravda 

verified with the 
manuscript 



433 



MUDDLEHEADEDNESS 

MORE ON THE SUBJECT OF ANNEXATIONS 

The editors of Izvestia, a paper controlled by the Na- 
rodnik and Menshevik bloc, are beating all records of 
muddledom. In that paper's issue No. 67 for May 16, they 
try to chop logic with Pravda, without, of course, mention- 
ing its name — a usual ill-mannered "ministerial" practice. 
Pravda, we are told, has a foggy, misleading idea of an- 
nexations. 

Begging your pardon, citizen-ministers and ministeri- 
able editors, but facts are facts, and the fact is that our 
Party was the only one to give a definition of annex- 
ation in official and carefully worded resolutions. Annex- 
ation means keeping an alien people by force within the 
bounds of a given state. No person able to read and 
understand Russian could fail to understand that on read- 
ing the Supplement to No. 13 of Soldatskaya Pravda 
(resolutions of the All-Russia Conference of April 24-29, 
1917).* 

What exception do the Narodnik and Menshevik editors 
of Izvestia take to this? Simply this: that if our view were 
adopted it would be necessary to "keep on fighting until 
Germany is reduced to the Duchy of Brandenburg, and 
Russia to the Principality of Muscovy"! Annexation, the 
editors explain for the edification of their readers, "is the 
forcible seizure of territory which, on the day war was 
declared, belonged to another country" (in short: no annex- 
ations means status quo, that is, a return to the state of 
affairs that existed before the war). 



See p. 271 of this volume.— Ed. 



434 



V. I. LENIN 



It is careless, most careless, on the part of the Narodnik 
and Menshevik leaders of the Soviet's Executive Committee 
to put such muddle-headed people in charge of a newspaper. 

Let us apply to their definition the argument they used 
against us. Would we have to "keep on fighting until Russia 
recovered Poland, and Germany Togoland and her African 
colonies"? Palpable nonsense, nonsense from the practical 
as well as the theoretical point of view, since no soldier 
anywhere would think twice about dismissing any editors 
who argued in this way. 

The flaw in their argument is this: 

(1) The theoretical definition of annexation involves 
the conception of an "alien" people, that is, a people that 
has preserved its distinctive features and its will towards 
independent existence. Ponder this, fellow-citizens, and 
if it is still not clear to you, read what Engels and Marx had 
to say about Ireland, about Germany's Danish territories, 
and the colonies — and you will realise how confused you 
are. The Duchy of Brandenburg and the Principality of 
Muscovy have nothing to do with it. (2) To confuse the idea 
of annexation with the question of how long "to keep on 
fighting" is ridiculous; it means failure to grasp the connec- 
tion that exists between war and the interests and rule 
of definite classes; it means abandoning the standpoint of 
the class struggle for the philistine "non-class" standpoint. 
So long as the capitalist class is in power the nations are 
bound "to keep on fighting" as long as that class wants it. 
To think that one can escape this by wishes, demands, or 
conferences is the illusion of a petty bourgeois. (3) So long as 
the capitalist class is in power, their peace is bound to be 
"an exchange of annexations" — Armenia for Lorraine, colony 
for colony, Galicia for Kurland, and so on. We can pardon an 
ignorant man for failing to see this, but not the editors of 
Izvestia. (4) When the proletariat comes to power — and that 
is what the war is leading up to everywhere — then and only 
then will "peace without annexations" become possible. 

When our Party speaks of "peace without annexations" 
it always explains — as a warning to muddle-headed people — 
that this slogan must be closely linked with the proletarian 
revolution. Only in connection with this revolution is it 
true and useful; it pursues only the revolution 's line, and 



MUDDLEHEADEDNESS 



435 



works only for the revolution's growth and development. To 
vacillate weakly between hopes in the capitalists and hopes 
in the workers' revolution is to condemn oneself to impotence 
and muddle in the question of annexations. 

P.S. Dyelo Naroda for May 17 agrees with Izvestia that 
"no annexations" is equivalent to status quo. Try and say 
that, gentlemen of the S.R. or Menshevik fold, say it 
clearly, precisely, and straightforwardly in the name of 
your party, your Petrograd Committee, your congress! 



Pravda No. 60, 
May 31 (18), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



436 



COMBATING ECONOMIC CHAOS 
BY A SPATE OF COMMISSIONS 

Izvestia for May 17 publishes a tiresomely lengthy and 
silly resolution of the Soviet's Economic Department con- 
cerning ways of combating economic chaos. 

And what a combat that is! Splendid ideas and excellent 
plans are smothered in a net of dead, bureaucratic insti- 
tutions. "The Economic Department shall be converted 
[mark this!] into a department for the organisation of the 
national economy." 

Excellent! We are on the right track! The country can 
make its mind easy. The Department has been renamed. 

But is it possible to "organise the national economy" 
without wielding state power? This the Executive Com- 
mittee has overlooked. 

The Department has six "sub-departments".... That is 
Point 1 of the resolution. Point 2 is about establishing 
"close organisational ties"; Point 3 is about working out the 
"basic principles" of regulation; Point 4 is about establishing 
"close organisational contact" with the cabinet ministers 
(upon my oath, this is not from a fable by Muzhik Vredny 114 
but from Izvestia No. 68, for May 17, page 3, column 3, 
Point 4); Point 5 is about "the government forming commis- 
sions"; Point 6 is about "a bill to be drafted in the very near 
future"; Point 7 is about starting immediately "to draw up 
basic legislative proposals" on five sub-points.... 

0 wise men! 0 lawgivers! 0 Louis Blancs! 



Pravda No. 60, 
May 31 (18), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



437 



ONE MORE DEPARTURE 
FROM DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES 

The Narodniks and Mensheviks, who are editing Izvestia, 
wish to be considered socialists, but do not even know how 
to be democrats. In their issue No. 68, for May 17, they advise 
"caution" with regard to the "slogan of partial re-elections". 
They tell the workers that "deputies should be elected for a 
fixed term — two or three months, say — but never [!] for 
a week, from one meeting to another". 

Is it proper for an official organ to worry about re-elections 
and to advise "caution"? ...Caution in what? In the expres- 
sion of popular distrust in that organl 

That is the first question. 

The second question is: Should not an intelligent democrat 
deal with the question of caution in the matter of re-elections 
(if it is to be dealt with at all) from the point of view of 
partyisml Is it not his duty, for instance, to say: We, Narod- 
niks and Mensheviks, consider the line taken by our bloc to 
be correct on such-and-such grounds, and that of the Bol- 
sheviks to be incorrect for such-and-such reasons? Why 
then do the editors depart from democratic principles and, 
instead of appealing to partyism, use such a strange argument 
as that mistakes at elections are an "exception"? Don't they 
know that the "mistake" of having the Skobelevs and Cher- 
novs join the capitalist cabinet is being weighed and discussed 
by the workers everywhere, that it is not an "exception" 
at all? 

The third question is this: Is it not the duty of a democrat, 
who wishes to raise the question of re-elections, to recognise 
and emphasise the principle of democracy — the right of the 



438 



V. I. LENIN 



population at any time to recall each and every representative, 
each and every person holding elected office? 

Will not the editors of Izvestia, if they still reckon with the 
opinions of the founders of scientific socialism, Marx and 
Engels, recall what those real socialists said with regard to 
such a right? 



Pravda No. 60, 
May 31 (18), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



439 



HOW THE CAPITALISTS ARE TRYING 
TO SCARE THE PEOPLE 

In an editorial on May 17 Finansovaya Gazeta writes: 

"The political upheaval, which everyone looked forward to, is 
assuming the form of a social revolution without precedent anywhere. 
The 'class struggle', which is a legitimate and natural thing in a free 
country, has taken on with us the character of a class war. A financial 
crash is imminent. An industrial crash is unavoidable. 

"To effect a political revolution it was enough to make Nicholas II 
abdicate the throne and to arrest a dozen of his ministers. That was 
easily done in a single day. To effect a social revolution, however, 
tens of millions of citizens must be made to abdicate their property 
rights and all non-socialists must be arrested. This cannot be done 
in scores of years." 

That is untrue, worthy fellow-citizens. It is a glaring lie! 
You choose to call control over industry by the workers 
"social revolution". In doing so you are committing three 
monstrous errors. 

First, the revolution of February 27 was also a social 
revolution. Every political upheaval, if it is not a mere 
change of cliques, is a social revolution. The thing is — 
what class makes that social revolution. The revolution of 
February 27, 1917 took the power from the feudal landown- 
ers headed by Nicholas II and gave it to the bourgeoisie. It 
was a social revolution of the bourgeoisie. 

By the use of clumsy unscientific terminology which con- 
fuses "social" with "socialist" revolution, Finansovaya Gazeta 
tries to conceal from the people the obvious fact that the 
workers and peasants cannot content themselves with seizure 
of power by the bourgeoisie. 

By trying to ignore this clear and simple fact the capitalists 
are deceiving themselves and the people. 

Secondly, "without precedent anywhere" is also applicable 
to the great imperialist war of 1914-17. Such a debacle, such 
bloody horrors, such a disaster, and such a break-down of our 



440 



V. I. LENIN 



entire civilisation are "without precedent anywhere". It is 
not anybody's impatience, not anybody's propaganda, but 
objective conditions and this unprecedented break-down of 
civilisation that necessitate this control over production 
and distribution, over the banks, factories, etc. 

Failing this, tens of millions of people can be said without 
exaggeration to face inevitable ruin and death. 

In view of the freedom created by the "political upheaval" 
of February 27, in view of the existence of the Soviets, 
such control is impossible unless the workers and peasants 
preponderate, unless the minority of the population bows 
to the majority. Nothing can alter this, protest as you may. 

Third, and most important of all — even for the purpose of 
a socialist revolution there is no need at all for "tens of 
millions of citizens to abdicate their property rights". Not 
even socialism (and control over the banks and factories 
does not yet mean socialism) requires anything of the kind. 

This is an infamous libel on socialism. No socialist has 
ever proposed that the "tens of millions", i.e., the small 
and middle peasants, should be deprived of their property 
(="made to abdicate their property rights"). 

Nothing of the kind! 

Socialists everywhere have always denied such nonsense. 

Socialists are out to make only the landowners and capi- 
talists "abdicate". To deal a decisive blow at those who are 
defying the people the way the colliery owners are doing 
when they disrupt and ruin production, it is sufficient 
to make a few hundred, at the most one or two thousand, 
millionaires, bank and industrial and commercial bosses, 
"abdicate" their property rights. 

This would be quite enough to break the resistance of 
capital. Even this tiny group of wealthy people need not have 
all their property rights taken away from them; they could 
be allowed to keep many possessions in the way of consump- 
tion articles and ownership of a certain modest income. 

The question at issue is merely that of breaking down the 
resistance of a few hundred millionaires. Only in this way can 
disaster be averted. 



Pravda No. 61, 
June 1 (May 19), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



441 



ONE MORE CRIME OF THE CAPITALISTS 

The report made in Petrograd recently by a delegation of 
Donets workers exposed the Donets colliery owners, who 
are criminally disrupting and stopping production, and (for 
the sake of safeguarding their "sacred" right to enormous 
profits) are condemning the workers to unemployment, the 
country to starvation, and industry to a crisis through a coal 
shortage. 

Today we have received a telegram reporting similar 
outrageous and criminal conduct on the part of the colliery 
owners at the other end of Russia. Here is the text of the 
telegram sent to the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Depu- 
ties and to three cabinet ministers (with our corrections in 
brackets): 

"On April 29 the (Soviet) of Soldiers' Deputies and the Union of 
Employees at Michelson's Sudzhensk coal mines removed from office 
the nine-man administration owing to the criminally provocative 
manner in which they ran the business, which threatened to lead to a 
shutdown. The management has been placed (in) the hands of a Council 
of Engineers — a technical board directly controlled by the Soviet of 
Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. A committee from the executive 
bodies in Tomsk has investigated and approved our decision. 

"In a telegram dated May 11 Michelson refused to pay the workers. 
We demand full restoration. Restoration impossible.* The mines 
are facing anarchy, the workers — disaster. Take urgent steps to send 
half a million rubles, decide the fate of the mines, confiscate them. The 
mines are working for national defence, daily output is 135,000 poods. 
A stoppage may affect railway traffic and (operation of the) factories. 
So far work is normal. Wages for March and April not paid in full. 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, and Union of Employees." 

No more fitting expression than that used by the Soviet 
and the Employees' Union in their telegram could be found, 



* The meaning is not clear. Does it mean that in case of a stoppage 
it will be difficult and almost impossible to get the mines restarted? 



442 



V. I. LENIN 



namely, that the capitalists are running the business in 
a "criminally provocative manner". 

All the members, of the Provisional Government, the so- 
called socialist ministers included, will be accomplices 
in this crime if they continue to "grapple" with the impending 
debacle by means of resolutions, commissions, conferences 
with employers, if they continue "to waste words where they 
should use their power" (against the capitalists). 



Pravda No. 61, 
June 1 (May 19), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



443 



STILL MORE LIES 

Yedinstvo (unity with the bourgeoisie*) alleges today that 
"the Leninists contend that Kurland is a German province". 

That is a lie. That is in the vein of Russkaya Volya and 
Rech, and it is a lie. 

Pravda has challenged Rech and other papers to give a 
definition of annexation that would fit all annexations, 
German, British, and Russian. 

The bourgeois newspapers (Yedinstvo included) are unable 
to answer this question and so they dismiss it by repeating 
the old lies. Shame! 

Written May 18 (31), 1917 

Published June 1 (May 19), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 61 to the newspaper text 



A play on words, Yedinstvo meaning "Unity". — Ed. 



444 



A LETTER TO THE EDITORS 

The newspapers have again published a false report, alleg- 
ing that for some unexplained reason I did not attend the 
Peasant Congress, evaded it, etc. As a matter of fact I was to 
have addressed the Congress on Wednesday and was prepared 
to do so when I was notified that on Wednesday the organi- 
sation question was to be discussed instead of the agrarian 
question, which was temporarily put off. The same thing 
occurred today, i.e., on Thursday. Once more I ask readers 
not to believe the papers, except Pravda. 

N. Lenin 

Written May 18 (31), 1917 

Published June 1 (May 19), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 61 to the newspaper text 



445 



HAS DUAL POWER DISAPPEARED? 

It has not. Dual power still remains. The basic question 
of every revolution, that of state power, is still in an uncer- 
tain, unstable, and obviously transitory state. 

Compare the papers of the cabinet, Rech, for instance, 
with Izvestia, Dyelo Naroda, and Rabochaya Gazeta. Scan 
the meagre — unfortunately all too meagre — official reports 
of what is going on at the meetings of the Provisional Gov- 
ernment, of how the government "postpones" discussion of 
the most vital issues, because of its inability to take any 
definite course. Study the resolution of the Soviet's Execu- 
tive Committee passed on May 16, which deals with such 
a crucial and momentous question as that of how to cope with 
economic chaos and avert imminent debacle — and you will 
see that dual power is absolutely intact. 

Everyone admits that the country is swiftly heading for 
disaster — yet all that is done about it is to brush the question 
under the carpet. 

Is it not side-stepping the issue, when a resolution on 
such a grave question as impending economic catastrophe, at 
such a grave moment, merely creates a spate of commissions, 
departments, and sub-departments; when the same Executive 
Committee passes a resolution expressing nothing but pious 
wishes on such a scandalous affair as that of the Donets 
colliery owners who were found guilty of deliberately 
disorganising production? Price fixing, profit regulation, 
the establishment of a minimum wage, and the formation of 
state-controlled trusts — yes, but how, through whom? 
"Through the central and local institutions in the Donets 
Krivoi Rog Basin. These institutions must be democratic in 
character and made up of representatives of the workers, 



446 



V. I. LENIN 



employers, the government, and democratic revolutionary 
organisations"! 

This would be comic if the matter involved were not a 
tragedy. 

It is common knowledge that such "democratic" institutions 
have existed and still exist locally and in Petrograd (the 
very same Executive Committee of the Soviet) but they are 
powerless to do anything. Meetings between the Donets 
workers and the employers have been going on since the end 
of March — March! Over six weeks have passed and the result 
is that the Donets workers have been forced to the conclusion 
that the colliery owners are deliberately disorganising pro- 
duction! 

And again the people are fed with promises, commissions, 
meetings between representatives of the workers and employ- 
ers (in equal numbers?), and the old rigmarole starts all 
over again. 

The root of the evil is in the dual power. The root of the 
Narodniks' and Mensheviks' error is that they do not under- 
stand the class struggle, and want to replace or cloak it, 
reconcile it by means of phrases, promises, resolutions, commis- 
sions "with the participation" of representatives ... of the 
same dual government! 

The capitalists have made fantastic, outrageous fortunes 
out of the war. They have the majority of the government 
on their side. They want to rule supreme; in view of their 
class position they are bound to make a bid for supreme 
power and fight for it. 

The working masses constitute the vast majority of the 
population, they control the Soviets, they are aware of 
their power as a majority, they see everywhere the promise 
of a "democratised" life, they know that democracy is the 
rule of the majority over the minority (and not the reverse — 
which is what the capitalists want), they have been striving 
to better their lives only since the revolution (and then not 
everywhere), and not since the beginning of the war — there- 
fore they cannot but aspire towards supreme rule by the 
people, i.e., the majority of the population, towards affairs 
being managed according to the will of the worker majority 
as opposed to the capitalist minority, and not according to 
"an agreement" between the majority and the minority. 



HAS DUAL POWER DISAPPEARED? 



447 



Dual power still remains. The government of the capital- 
ists remains a government of the capitalists, despite the 
appended tag of Narodniks and Mensheviks in a minority 
capacity. The Soviets remain the organisation of the major- 
ity. The Narodnik and Menshevik leaders are floundering 
helplessly in an attempt to straddle two stools. 

Meanwhile the crisis is growing. Things have reached a 
point where the capitalists — the colliery owners — are bra- 
zenly committing outrageous crimes — they are disorganising 
and stopping production. Unemployment is spreading. There 
is talk of lockouts. Actually they have started in the form 
of disorganisation of production by the capitalists (for coal 
is the bread of industryl), in the form of growing unemploy- 
ment. 

Sole responsibility for this crisis, for the impending ca- 
tastrophe, rests with the Narodnik and Menshevik leaders. 
For it is they who are at present the leaders of the Soviets, 
i.e., of the majority. That the minority (the capitalists) 
should be unwilling to submit to the majority is inevitable. 
No person who has not forgotten the lessons which science 
and the experience of all countries teach us, no person who 
has not forgotten the class struggle, will look trustfully 
towards "an agreement" with the capitalists on such an essen- 
tial, burning question. 

The majority of the population, i.e., the Soviets, the 
workers and peasants, would be fully able to save the situa- 
tion, prevent the capitalists from disorganising and stopping 
production, establish their own immediate and effective 
control over production if it were not for the "conciliatory" 
policy of the Narodnik and Menshevik leaders. They bear 
full responsibility for the crisis and the catastrophe. 

There is no way out, however, other than by the worker 
and peasant majority deciding to act against the capitalist 
minority. Playing for time will not help, it will only make 
matters worse. 

Viewed from a Marxist angle, the "conciliatory" attitude 
of the Narodnik and Menshevik leaders is a manifestation of 
petty-bourgeois indecision. The petty bourgeoisie is afraid 
to trust the workers, and is afraid to break with the capital- 
ists. Such wavering is inevitable, as inevitable as our strug- 
gle, the struggle of the proletarian party, to overcome 



448 



V. I. LENIN 



indecision, and to make the people see the necessity for 
rehabilitating, organising, and increasing production in the 
teeth of capitalist opposition. 

There is no other way out. Either we go back to supreme 
rule by the capitalists, or forward towards real democracy, 
towards majority decisions. This dual power cannot last 
long. 



Pravda No. 62, 
June 2 (May 20), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



449 



ON THE "UNAUTHORIZED SEIZURE" OF LAND 

FLIMSY ARGUMENTS OF THE SOCIALIST-REVOLUTIONARIES 

Izvestia of the All-Russia Soviet of Peasants' Deputies, 115 
in its issue No. 10 for May 19, publishes a report by S. Maslov 
who discourses on the subject of "land seizures". 

"In some places," says S. Maslov, "the peasants are endeav- 
ouring to assert their right to the land by unauthorised 
seizure of lands belonging to the local landowners. The 
question arises: is such a procedure advisable?" 

S. Maslov considers it inadvisable, and gives four reasons 
for thinking so. Let us examine his arguments. 

Argument 1. Russia's lands are distributed unevenly in 
the various regions and gubernias. In pointing out this 
incontestable fact. S. Maslov says: 

"It is not difficult to imagine how complicated the proper settle- 
ment of the land question would become if every gubernia or region 
laid claim only to its own lands and seized them for its own use. It is 
not difficult to foresee what would happen if the peasants of some vil- 
lages seized the land of the local landowners and left the other peasants 
without any land." 

This argument is an obvious, a gross deviation from the 
truth. It would hold good against anybody who might take 
it into his head to advise the peasants to seize the land — and 
seize it in an unorganised way at that — as private property. 
Take it, share it — and that's that. 

That would indeed be the height of anarchism, the height 
of absurdity. 



450 



V. I. LENIN 



We do not know what party, if any, proposed such non- 
sense. If that is what S. Maslov had in mind, then he is tilting 
at windmills. It is ludicrous. 

Our Party, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party 
of the Bolsheviks, has proposed in a carefully worded 
resolution that property in the land be vested in the people 
as a whole. Consequently, we are opposed to any seizure of 
land as private property. 

But this is not the question at issue, and S. Maslov has 
betrayed himself by mentioning what is really the essential 
and cardinal point, namely, the seizure of the landed estates. 
That is the crux of the matter. It is on this question that 
S. Maslov is beating about the bush. 

The landed estates must be confiscated immediately, that 
is, private ownership of them must be abolished immediately 
and without compensation. 

And what about the possession of these lands? Who is 
to take immediate possession of them and cultivate them? 
The local peasants are to do this in an organised way, that 
is, in accordance with the decision of the majority. That 
is the advice of our Party. The local peasants are to have 
the immediate use of these lands, which are to become the 
property of the people as a whole. Ownership will be finally 
decided by the Constituent Assembly (or the All-Russia 
Council of Soviets, should the people choose to make it 
the Constituent Assembly). 

What has the uneven distribution of lands in the various 
regions got to do with this? Obviously, nothing whatever. 
Pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly 
this uneven distribution will remain under all plans, 
be it the landowners' plan, S. Maslov's plan or our own 
plan. 

S. Maslov is simply drawing the attention of the peasants 
away from the matter in hand. He has screened the real 
issue behind empty words that have no bearing upon the 
matter. 

And the real issue is that of the landed estates. The land- 
owners are for keeping them. We are for handing them over 
immediately to the peasants without compensation, free of 
charge. Maslov is for shelving the question by means of 
"conciliation chambers". 



ON THE "UNAUTHORIZED SEIZURE" OF LAND 



451 



That is bad. Stalling tactics are bad. The landowners 
must submit at once to the will of the peasant majority 
without attempts at conciliation between this peasant major- 
ity and the landowner minority. This conciliation is an 
unlawful, unjust, undemocratic privilege for the landowners. 

Maslov's second argument is this: 

"The peasants are for seizing the land in the hope that if they manage 
to raise a crop on it they will be able to keep it. But this can be done 
only by such peasant households as have the necessary number of work 
hands and horses. Horseless families or families that have given most 
of their labour-power to the army will not be able to get land by this 
seizure method. Obviously, those who will gain by this method are 
those who are the stronger, or even those who are more land-pros- 
perous, and not those who are most in need of land." 

This argument, too, is a downright falsehood. Again 
S. Maslov tries to draw the attention of the peasants away 
from the real issue — that of the landed estates. If the peas- 
ants were to take the landed estates not by "seizure' (i.e., 
free of charge, as we propose), but on lease, that is, paying 
rent for the land (as the landowners and S. Maslov propose) — 
would anything be altered? Are not horses and work hands 
needed to till the land rented from the landowners? Can 
families that have given their working members to the army 
lease land on a par with large families? 

The difference between our Party, the Bolsheviks, and 
Maslov on this point is that he proposes the land should be 
taken from the landowners for payment after a "conciliation" 
agreement has been arrived at, whereas we propose taking 
it immediately and free of charge. 

The question of rich people among the peasants has nothing 
to do with it. What is more, to take the land free of charge is 
more in the interests of the poor. To pay rent is easier for 
the rich. 

What measures are possible and necessary to prevent the 
rich peasant from wronging the poor one? 

1. Majority decision (there are more poor than rich). 
This is what we propose; 

2. A special organisation of poor peasants, where they 
can specially discuss their own special interests. This is what 
we propose; 



452 



V. I. LENIN 



3. Common cultivation of the landed estates by common 
draft animals and common implements under the direction 
of the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' Deputies. This is 
what we propose. 

These last two measures — the most important — are just 
the ones the Party of the "Socialist-Revolutionaries" does 
not support. It's a great pity. 

The third argument is this: 

"At the beginning, during the early days of the revolution, when 
rumours were current among the soldiers that back there, at home, a 
division of the land was taking place, many of them were eager to go 
home for fear of being done out of their share. Cases of desertion became 
more frequent." 

This argument concerns the immediate division of the 
land as private property. No one has proposed any such thing. 
S. Maslov is wide of the mark again. 

The fourth argument: 

"Finally, land seizures simply threaten to reduce the crops. There 
have been cases when the peasants, after seizing the landed estates, 
have done the sowing poorly, using insufficient seeds or leaving 
their own land uncultivated. Now that the country is so badly in need 
of food such a situation is absolutely intolerable." 

This is such a flimsy argument that people can only laugh 
at it. We are asked to believe that if the land taken from the 
landowners is paid for it will be cultivated better! 

You ought to be ashamed of yourself to use such argu- 
ments, Citizen Maslov! 

If the peasants sow the fields poorly, they should be 
helped — and this particularly applies to the poor peas- 
ants — by means of collective cultivation of the large estates. 
There is no other way of helping the poor peasants. And 
this, unfortunately, is just the remedy which S. Maslov 
does not propose. 

In all justice it should be said that S. Maslov apparently 
realises the flimsiness of his arguments, for he hastens to add: 

"After what I have said I feel that some of you are ready to protest, 
saying, how can we be told to leave things as they were when we have 
suffered so much from this big landownership. I do not claim to pro- 
pose anything." 



ON THE "UNAUTHORIZED SEIZURE" OF LAND 



453 



Precisely! From what Maslov said it could be inferred that 
he wished to leave things as they were (although he does not 
want that). There is something wrong with his arguments 
then. 

It is for the peasants to decide. It is for parties to propose. 
Our Party proposes what I have stated above. These 
proposals have been clearly elaborated in our resolutions,* 
for which see Supplement to No. 13 of Soldatskaya 
Pravda, price 5 kopeks. 



Pravda No. 62, June 2 Published according 

(May 20), 1917 to the text in Pravda 

Signed: N. Lenin 



*See pp. 291-92 and 311 of this volume.— Ed. 



MATERIALS RELATING 
TO THE REVISION 
OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



Written April-May 1917 

Published June 1917 
in the pamphlet Materials Relating 
to the Revision 
of the Party Programme, 
Priboi Publishers, Petrograd 



Published according 
to the pamphlet text 



457 



1 

PREFACE TO THE PAMPHLET MATERIALS RELATING 
TO THE REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 

The Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic 
Labour Party ("Bolsheviks") has instructed the undersigned 
to publish immediately the material at present in the posses- 
sion of the Central Committee relating to the revision of the 
Party Programme. 

This material consists of the following: 

a) The initial draft of amendments to the theoretical and 
political sections of the programme which the present writer 
submitted to the All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. 
on April 24-29, 1917, and which was examined so far only 
by the committee set up by the Conference for the detailed 
elaboration of this question. 

b) Comments on the draft, or in connection with the draft, 
made by the committee or by its individual members. 

c) My reply to these comments. 

d) A complete draft of proposed changes in the economic 
minimum programme worked out at the Conference of April 
24-29, 1917 by the sub-committee on the protection of 
labour. 

e) A draft, supplied with brief explanatory notes, of 
changes to be made in the clauses of the Party Programme 
dealing with public education. This draft was drawn up by 
N. K. Krupskaya after the Conference. 

I am appending brief notes to this material, for I consider 
that the chief purpose of the Party in publishing this mate- 
rial at the present time is to secure the active participation 
of the greatest possible number of comrades in the work of 
drawing up the Party Programme. 



458 



V. I. LENIN 



Taken together, the proposed changes above enumerated 
form the draft of the complete text of a new programme. 
I therefore give both the old and the new texts of the 
programme at the end of this pamphlet, arranged so as to 
present the reader with all the material in the form most 
convenient for comparison and for the insertion of amend- 
ments. 

On behalf of the Central Committee, I ask all comrades, 
both members of the Party and sympathisers, to reprint 
this material in Party publications as widely as possible, 
to bring it to the attention of every member of the Party and 
to address all comments and proposals to the office of Pravda 
(32 Moika, Petrograd, marked: for the Central Committee, 
Material Relating to Programme Revision). 



May 20, 1917 



N. Lenin 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



459 



2 

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS 
TO THE DOCTRINAL, POLITICAL AND OTHER SECTIONS 
OF THE PROGRAMME 

At the end of the preamble (after the words "the standpoint 
of the proletariat") insert: 

World capitalism has at the present time, i.e., about 
the beginning of the twentieth century, reached the stage 
of imperialism. Imperialism, or the epoch of finance capi- 
tal, is a high stage of development of the capitalist economic 
system, one in which monopolist associations of capitalists — 
syndicates, cartels, and trusts — have assumed decisive 
importance; in which enormously concentrated banking capital 
has fused with industrial capital; in which the export of 
capital to foreign countries has assumed vast dimensions; 
in which the whole world has been divided up territorially 
among the richer countries, and the economic carve-up of 
the world among international trusts has begun. 

Imperialist wars, i.e., wars for world domination, for 
markets for banking capital and for the subjugation of 
small and weaker nations, are inevitable under such a state 
of affairs. The first great imperialist war, the war of 1914-17, 
is precisely such a war. 

The extremely high level of development which world 
capitalism in general has attained, the replacement of free 
competition by monopoly capitalism, the fact that the banks 
and the capitalist associations have prepared the machinery 
for the social regulation of the process of production and 
distribution of products, the rise in the cost of living and 
increased oppression of the working class by the syndicates 
due to the growth of capitalist monopolies, the tremendous 



460 



V. I. LENIN 



obstacles standing in the way of the proletariat's economic 
and political struggle, the horrors, misery, ruin, and brutal- 
isation caused by the imperialist war — all these factors 
transform the present stage of capitalist development into 
an era of proletarian socialist revolution. 
That era has dawned. 

Only a proletarian socialist revolution can lead humanity 
out of the impasse which imperialism and imperialist wars 
have created. Whatever difficulties the revolution may have 
to encounter, whatever possible temporary setbacks or 
waves of counter-revolution it may have to contend with, the 
final victory of the proletariat is inevitable. 

Objective conditions make it the urgent task of the day to 
prepare the proletariat in every way for the conquest of 
political power in order to carry out the economic and polit- 
ical measures which are the sum and substance of the 
socialist revolution. 



The fulfilment of this task, which calls for the fullest trust, 
the closest fraternal ties, and direct unity of revolutionary 
action on the part of the working class in all the advanced 
countries, is impossible without an immediate break in 
principle with the bourgeois perversion of socialism, which 
has gained the upper hand among the leadership of the great 
majority of the official Social-Democratic parties. Such a 
perversion is, on the one hand, the social-chauvinist trend, 
socialism in word and chauvinism in deed, the defence of 
the predatory interests of "one's own" national bourgeoisie 
under the guise of "defence of the fatherland"; and, on the 
other hand, the equally wide international trend of the so- 
called "Centre", which stands for unity with the social- 
chauvinists and for the preservation or correction of the 
bankrupt Second International, and which vacillates between 
social-chauvinism and the internationalist revolutionary 
struggle of the proletariat for the achievement of a socialist 
system. 



In the minimum programme, the whole beginning (from 
the words "On the path" down to §1) should be crossed out, 
and replaced by the following: 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



461 



In Russia at the present moment, when the Provi- 
sional Government, which is part and parcel of the 
capitalist class and enjoys the confidence — necessarily 
unstable — of the broad mass of the petty-bourgeois popu- 
lation, has undertaken to convene a Constituent Assem- 
bly, the immediate duty of the party of the proletariat is 
to fight for a political system which will best guarantee eco- 
nomic progress and the rights of the people in general, and 
make possible the least painful transition to socialism in 
particular. 

The party of the proletariat cannot rest content with 
a bourgeois parliamentary democratic republic, which 
throughout the world preserves and strives to perpetuate the 
monarchist instruments for the oppression of the masses, 
namely, the police, the standing army, and the privileged 
bureaucracy. 

The party fights for a more democratic workers' and 
peasants' republic, in which the police and the standing 
army will be abolished and replaced by the universally 
armed people, by a people's militia; all officials will be not 
only elective, but also subject to recall at any time upon 
the demand of a majority of the electors; all officials, without 
exception, will be paid at a rate not exceeding the average 
wage of a competent worker; parliamentary representative 
institutions will be gradually replaced by Soviets of people's 
representatives (from various classes and professions, or 
from various localities), functioning as both legislative and 
executive bodies. 

The constitution of the Russian democratic republic must 
ensure: 

§1. The sovereignty of the people; supreme power in the 
state must be vested entirely in the people's representatives, 
who shall be elected by the people and be subject to recall 
at any time, and who shall constitute a single popular 
assembly, a single chamber. 

§2. Add: 

Proportional representation at all elections; all delegates 
and elected officials, without exception, to be subject to 
recall at any time upon the decision of a majority of their 
electors. 

§3. Add: 



462 



V. I. LENIN 



The abolition of all state-appointed local and regional 
authorities.* 

The last sentence in §8 to be worded as follows: 

The native language to be used in all local public and 

state institutions; the obligatory official language to be 

abolished. 
§9 to read: 

The right of all member nations of the state to freely se- 
cede and form independent states. The republic of the Rus- 
sian nation must attract other nations or nationalities 
not by force, but exclusively by voluntary agreement on the 
question of forming a common state. The unity and fraternal 
alliance of the workers of all countries are incompatible with 
the use of force, direct or indirect, against other nation- 
alities. 

§11 to read: 

Judges and other officials, both civil and military, to be 
elected by the people with the right to recall any of them 
at any time by decision of a majority of their electors. 

§12 to read: 

The police and standing army to be replaced by the uni- 
versally armed people; workers and other employees to 
receive regular wages from the capitalists for the time 
devoted to public service in the people's militia. 



After the fiscal clause of the programme (following the 
words "on incomes and inheritances") insert: 

The high level of development of capitalism already 
achieved in banking and in the trustified branches of indus- 
try, on the one hand, and the economic disruption caused 
by the imperialist war, everywhere evoking a demand for 
state and public control of the production and distribution 
of all staple products, on the other, induce the Party to 
demand the nationalisation of the banks, syndicates 
(trusts), etc. 



•See Pravda No. 68, May 28, 1917, F. Engels's discussion of the 
Marxist view — and consistently democratic view in general — on the 
question of the appointment and endorsement of officials elected by 
the local population. 116 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



463 



The agrarian programme to be formulated thus: 
The beginning (from the words "In order to do away with 
the relics" to the words "the Party demands") to be 
retained; the continuation to be amended as follows: 

1) Fights with all its strength for the immediate and com- 
plete confiscation of all landed estates in Russia (and also 
crown lands, church lands, etc.). 

2) Stands for the immediate transfer of all land to the 
peasantry organised in Soviets of Peasants' Deputies or in 
other organs of local self-government elected on a truly dem- 
ocratic basis and completely independent of the landowners 
and bureaucrats. 

3) Demands the nationalisation of all lands in the country; 
nationalisation implies that all property rights in land are 
vested in the state, while the right of disposal of the land is 
vested in the local democratic institutions. 

4) Encourages the initiative of those peasant committees 
which, in various localities of Russia, are turning over the 
landowners' livestock and agricultural implements to the 
peasants organised in these committees for the purpose of 
their socially regulated utilisation in the cultivation of the 
land. 

5) Advises the rural proletarians and semi-proletarians 
to strive towards turning every landed estate into a suffi- 
ciently large model farm, to be conducted on a communal 
basis by the local Soviet of Agricultural Labourers' Depu- 
ties under the direction of agricultural experts and with 
the aid of the best technical appliances. 

The Party under all circumstances and whatever the con- 
ditions, etc. — to the end of the paragraph ("exploitation"). 

The conclusion of the agrarian programme, from the 
words "The Party under all circumstances, and whatever the 
conditions of democratic agrarian reform may be" to the 
words "poverty and exploitation", to remain unchanged. 



The whole concluding part of the programme, the last 
two paragraphs (from the words "In the endeavour to achieve" 
to the end), to be entirely deleted. 



464 



V. I. LENIN 



3 

COMMENTS ON THE REMARKS MADE BY THE COMMITTEE 
OF THE APRIL ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE 

With regard to the remarks on the preamble to the pro- 
gramme, I must say the following. 

In my opinion, there is no need for a revision of the entire 
preamble. The plan for such a revision proposed by the 
committee seems to me theoretically incorrect. 

As now worded, the preamble contains a description and 
analysis of the main and essential features of capitalism 
as a social and economic system. Fundamentally, these 
features have not been changed by imperialism, by the era 
of finance capital. Imperialism is a continuation of the 
development of capitalism, its highest stage — in a sense, 
a transition stage to socialism. 

I cannot therefore see how the addition of an analysis 
of imperialism to the general analysis of the basic features 
of capitalism can be regarded as "mechanical". Imperialism, 
in fact, does not and cannot transform capitalism from top to 
bottom. Imperialism complicates and sharpens the contradic- 
tions of capitalism, it "ties up" monopoly with free com- 
petition, but it cannot do away with exchange, the market, 
competition, crises, etc. 

Imperialism is moribund capitalism, capitalism which is 
dying but not dead. The essential feature of imperialism, 
by and large, is not monopolies pure and simple, but monop- 
olies in conjunction with exchange, markets, competition, 
crises. 

It is therefore theoretically wrong to delete an analysis of 
exchange, commodity production, crises, etc., in general 
and to "replace" it by an analysis of imperialism as a whole. 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



465 



There is no such whole. There is a transition from competi- 
tion to monopoly, and therefore the programme would be 
much more correct, and much more true to reality, if it 
retained the general analysis of exchange, commodity pro- 
duction, crises, etc., and had a characterisation of the 
growing monopolies added to it. In fact it is this combina- 
tion of antagonistic principles, viz., competition and mo- 
nopoly, that is the essence of imperialism, it is this that is 
making for the final crash, i.e., the socialist revolution. 

Furthermore, in the case of Russia it would be wrong to 
present imperialism as a coherent whole (imperialism in 
general is an incoherent whole), since in Russia there are 
no few fields and branches of labour that are still in a state 
of transition from natural or semi-natural economy to capi- 
talism. Backward and poor though they are, they neverthe- 
less exist, and given the conditions, may introduce an ele- 
ment of delay in the collapse of capitalism. 

The programme proceeds — as it should proceed — from the 
simplest phenomena of capitalism to the more complex and 
"higher" ones, from exchange to commodity production, to 
the ousting of small industries by the large ones, to crises 
and so forth, ending up in imperialism, that highest stage 
of capitalism, which is only now being reached in the ad- 
vanced countries. That is how matters stand in actual real- 
ity. To begin by placing "exchange" in general in juxta- 
position with the export of capital is incorrect historically 
and theoretically. 

These are the comments I have to make on the remarks 
of the committee. 



466 



V. I. LENIN 



4 

DRAFT OF REVISED PROGRAMME 

THE OLD AND NEW TEXTS OF THE PROGRAMME 

To make it easier and more convenient for the reader to 
compare the old and new texts of the programme, both 
texts are printed together in the following manner: 

Those parts of the old programme which remain unchanged 
in the new one are given in ordinary type. 

Those parts of the old programme which are to be completely 
deleted from the new one are given in italics. 

Those parts of the new programme which were not in 
the old programme are given in bold type. 

PROGRAMME OF THE RUSSIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC LABOUR PARTY 

The development of exchange has established such close 
ties between all the nations of the civilised world that the 
great movement of the proletariat towards emancipation 
was bound to become — and has long since become — interna- 
tional. 

Russian Social-Democracy regards itself as a detachment 
of the world army of the proletariat, and is working towards 
the same ultimate goal as the Social-Democrats of all other 
countries. This ultimate goal is determined by the character 
of modern bourgeois society and by the trend of its develop- 
ment. The principal specific feature of this society is com- 
modity production based on capitalist production relations, 
under which the most important and major part of the 
means of production and exchange of commodities belongs 
to a numerically small class of persons while the vast major- 
ity of the population is made up of proletarians and semi- 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



467 



proletarians, who, owing to their economic position, are 
compelled permanently or periodically to sell their labour- 
power, i.e., to hire themselves out to the capitalists and to 
create by their labour the incomes of the upper classes of 
society. 

The ascendancy of capitalist production relations extends 
its area more and more with the steady improvement of 
technology, which, by enhancing the economic importance 
of the large enterprises, tends to eliminate the small inde- 
pendent producers, converting some of them into prole- 
tarians and narrowing the role of others in the social and 
economic sphere, and in some places making them more or 
less completely, more or less obviously, more or less painfully 
dependent on capital. 

Moreover, this technical progress enables the employers 
to make growing use of female and child labour in the proc- 
ess of production and exchange of commodities. And since, 
on the other hand, it causes a relative decrease in the em- 
ployers' demand for human labour-power, the demand for 
labour-power necessarily lags behind its supply, as a result 
of which the dependence of wage-labour on capital is in- 
creased and exploitation of labour rises to a higher level. 

This state of affairs in the bourgeois countries and the 
steadily growing competition among them in the world 
market make it more and more difficult for them to sell 
the goods which are produced in ever increasing quantities. 
Over-production, manifesting itself in more or less acute 
industrial crises followed by more or less protracted periods 
of industrial stagnation, is an inevitable consequence of the 
development of the productive forces in bourgeois society. 
Crises and periods of industrial stagnation, in their turn, 
still further ruin the small producers, still further increase 
the dependence of wage-labour on capital, and lead still 
more rapidly to the relative and sometimes to the absolute 
deterioration of the condition of the working class. 

Thus, improvement in technology, signifying increased 
labour productivity and greater social wealth, becomes in 
bourgeois society the cause of greater social inequality, of 
widening gulfs between the rich and poor, of greater inse- 
curity, unemployment, and various hardships of the mass 
of the working people. 



468 



V. I. LENIN 



However, in proportion as all these contradictions, which 
are inherent in bourgeois society, grow and develop, so 
also does the discontent of the toiling and exploited masses 
with the existing order of things grow; the numerical strength 
and solidarity of the proletarians increase and their struggle 
against their exploiters is sharpened. At the same time, by 
concentrating the means of production and exchange and 
socialising the process of labour in capitalist enterprises, the 
improvement in technology more and more rapidly creates 
the material possibility of capitalist production relations 
being superseded by socialist relations, i.e., the possibility 
of bringing about the social revolution, which is the ultimate 
aim of all the activities of international Social-Democracy 
as the conscious exponent of the class movement. 

By introducing social in place of private ownership of the 
means of production and exchange, by introducing planned 
organisation of social production to ensure the well-being 
and many-sided development of all the members of society, 
the proletarian social revolution will do away with the 
division of society into classes and thereby emancipate the 
whole of oppressed humanity, for it will put an end to all 
forms of exploitation of one section of society by another. 

A necessary condition for this social revolution is the 
dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the conquest by the 
proletariat of such political power as will enable it to suppress 
all resistance on the part of the exploiters. Aiming at making 
the proletariat capable of fulfilling its great historic mission, 
international Social-Democracy organises the proletariat 
in an independent political party opposed to all the bour- 
geois parties, guides all the manifestations of its class strug- 
gle, reveals to it the irreconcilable antagonism between the 
interests of the exploiters and those of the exploited, and 
explains to the proletariat the historical significance of and 
the necessary conditions for the impending social revolution. 
At the same time it reveals to all the other toiling and ex- 
ploited masses the hopelessness of their position in capitalist 
society and the need for a social revolution if they are to 
free themselves from the yoke of capital. The Social-Demo- 
cratic Party, the party of the working class, calls upon all 
sections of the toiling and exploited population to join its- 
ranks insofar as they adopt the standpoint of the proletariat. 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



469 



World capitalism has at the present time, i.e., about 
the beginning of the twentieth century, reached the stage 
of imperialism. Imperialism, or the epoch of finance capital, 
is a high stage of development of the capitalist economic 
system, one in which monopolist associations of capitalists- 
syndicates, cartels, and trusts-have assumed decisive 
importance; in which enormously concentrated banking 
capital has fused with industrial capital; in which the ex- 
port of capital to foreign countries has assumed vast di- 
mensions; in which the whole world has been divided up 
territorially among the richer countries, and the economic 
carve-up of the world among international trusts has 
begun. 

Imperialist wars, i.e., wars for world domination, for 
markets for banking capital and for the subjugation of small 
and weaker nations, are inevitable under such a state of 
affairs. The first great imperialist war, the war of 1914-17, 
is precisely such a war. 

The extremely high level of development which world 
capitalism in general has attained, the replacement of 
free competition by monopoly capitalism, the fact that 
the banks and the capitalist associations have prepared 
the machinery for the social regulation of the process of 
production and distribution of products, the rise in the 
cost of living and increased oppression of the working class 
by the syndicates due to the growth of capitalist monopolies, 
the tremendous obstacles standing in the way of the prole- 
tariat's economic and political struggle, the horrors, 
misery, ruin, and brutalisation caused by the imperialist 
war— all these factors transform the present stage of capi- 
talist development into an era of proletarian socialist 
revolution. 

That era has dawned. 

Only a proletarian socialist revolution can lead humanity 
out of the impasse which imperialism and imperialist wars 
have created. Whatever difficulties the revolution may 
have to encounter, whatever possible temporary setbacks 
or waves of counter-revolution it may have to contend 
with, the final victory of the proletariat is inevitable. 

Objective conditions make it the urgent task of the day 
to prepare the proletariat in every way for the conquest 



470 



V. I. LENIN 



of political power in order to carry out the economic and 
political measures which are the sum and substance of 
the socialist revolution. 



The fulfilment of this task, which calls for the fullest 
trust, the closest fraternal ties, and direct unity of revo- 
lutionary action on the part of the working class in all the 
advanced countries, is impossible without an immediate 
break in principle with the bourgeois perversion of social- 
ism, which has gained the upper hand among the leader- 
ship of the great majority of the official Social-Demo- 
cratic parties. Such a perversion is, on the one hand, the 
social-chauvinist trend, socialism in word and chauvinism 
in deed, the defence of the predatory interests of "one's 
own" national bourgeoisie under the guise of "defence 
of the fatherland"; and, on the other hand, the equally 
wide international trend of the so-called "Centre", which 
stands for unity with the social-chauvinists and for the 
preservation or correction of the bankrupt Second Interna- 
tional, and which vacillates between social-chauvinism 
and the internationalist revolutionary struggle of the pro- 
letariat for the achievement of a socialist system. 

On the path to their ultimate common goal, which is con- 
ditioned by preponderance of the capitalist mode of production 
throughout the civilised world, the Social-Democrats of dif- 
ferent countries are obliged to set themselves dissimilar immedi- 
ate tasks, both because the capitalist system is not developed 
everywhere to the same degree, and because in different 
countries it develops in a different social and political setting. 

In Russia, where capitalism has already become the prevail- 
ing mode of production, there are still numerous survivals of 
the old, pre-capitalist order, which was based on the enslave- 
ment of the working masses to the landowners, the state, or 
the head of the state. 

While greatly hampering economic progress, these survivals 
also prevent the full development of the class struggle of the 
proletariat; they help to preserve and intensify the most bar- 
barous forms of exploitation of the peasant millions by the 
state and the propertied classes and keep the people in a state 
of ignorance and subjection. 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



471 



The most important of these relics of the past, and the 
most powerful bulwark of all this barbarism, is the tsarist 
autocracy. By its very nature it is hostile to every social 
movement and is bound to be the bitterest opponent of every 
aspiration towards freedom on the part of the proletariat. 

In view of this, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour 
Party makes it its primary and immediate task to overthrow 
the tsarist autocracy and set up in its place a democratic 
republic whose constitution would guarantee the following: 

In Russia at the present moment, when the Provisional 
Government, which is part and parcel of the capitalist 
class and enjoys the confidence— necessarily unstable— of 
the broad mass of the petty-bourgeois population, has un- 
dertaken to convene a Constituent Assembly, the immediate 
duty of the party of the proletariat is to fight for a political 
system which will best guarantee economic progress and 
the rights of the people in general, and make possible the 
least painful transition to socialism in particular. 

The party of the proletariat cannot rest content with 
a bourgeois parliamentary democratic republic, which 
throughout the world preserves and strives to perpetuate 
the monarchist instruments for the oppression of the masses, 
namely, the police, the standing army, and the privileged 
bureaucracy. 

The party fights for a more democratic workers' and 
peasants' republic, in which the police and the standing 
army will be abolished and replaced by the universally 
armed people, by a people's militia; all officials will 
be not only elective, but also subject to recall at any time 
upon the demand of a majority of the electors; all officials, 
without exception, will be paid at a rate not exceeding the 
average wage of a competent worker; parliamentary repre- 
sentative institutions will be gradually replaced by So- 
viets of people's representatives (from various classes and 
professions, or from various localities), functioning as 
both legislative and executive bodies. 

The constitution of the Russian democratic republic 
must ensure: 

1) The sovereignty of the people; supreme power in the 
state must be vested entirely in the people's representa- 
tives, who shall be elected by the people and be subject 



472 



V. I. LENIN 



to recall at any time, and who shall constitute a single 
popular assembly, a single chamber. 

1) The sovereignty of the people, i.e., the concentration 
of supreme state power entirely in the hands of a legislative 
assembly, consisting of the representatives of the people and 
constituting a single chamber. 

2) Universal, equal, and direct suffrage for all citizens, 
men and women, who have reached the age of twenty, in 
the elections to the legislative assembly and to the various 
bodies of local self-government; secret ballot; the right of 
every voter to be elected to any representative institution; 
biennial parliaments; salaries to be paid to the people's 
representatives; proportional representation at all elections; 
all delegates and elected officials, without exception, to be 
subject to recall at any time upon the decision of a majority 
of their electors. 

3) Local self-government on a broad scale; regional self- 
government in localities where the composition of the 
population and living and social conditions are of a specific 
nature; the abolition of all state-appointed local and 
regional authorities. 

4) Inviolability of person and domicile. 

5) Unrestricted freedom of conscience, speech, the press, 
assembly, strikes, and association. 

6) Freedom of movement and occupation. 

7) Abolition of the social estates; equal rights for all 
citizens irrespective of sex, creed, race, or nationality. 

8) The right of the population to receive instruction in 
their native tongue in schools to be established for the purpose 
at the expense of the state and local organs of self-govern- 
ment; the right of every citizen to use his native language at 
meetings; the native language to be used on a level with 
the official language in all local public and state institu- 
tions; the obligatory official language to be abolished. 

9) The right of self-determination for all member nations 
of the state. 

9) The right of all member nations of the state to freely 
secede and form independent states. The republic of the 
Russian nation must attract other nations or nationalities 
not by force, but exclusively by voluntary agreement on 
the question of forming a common state. The unity and 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



473 



fraternal alliance of the workers, of all countries are incompat- 
ible with the use of force, direct or indirect, against other 
nationalities. 

10) The right of all persons to sue any official in the regular 
way before a jury. 

11) Election of judges by the people. 

11) Judges and other officials, both civil and military, 
to be elected by the people with the right to recall any of 
them at any time by decision of a majority of their electors. 

12) Replacement of the standing army by the universally 
armed people. 

12) The police and standing army to be replaced by the 
universally armed people; workers and other employees 
to receive regular wages from the capitalists for the time 
devoted to public service in the people's militia. 

13) Separation of the church from the state, and schools 
from the church; schools to be absolutely secular. 

14) Free and compulsory general and vocational education 
for all children of both sexes up to the age of sixteen; poor 
children to be provided with food, clothing, and school supplies 
at the expense of the state. 

14) Free and compulsory general and polytechnical edu- 
cation (familiarising the student with the theoretical and 
practical aspects of the most important fields of production) 
for all children of both sexes up to the age of sixteen; training 
of children to be closely integrated with socially productive 
work. 

15) All students to be provided with food, clothing, 
and school supplies at the cost of the state. 

16) Public education to be administered by democrati- 
cally elected organs of local self-government; the central 
government not to be allowed to interfere with the arrange- 
ment of the school curriculum, or with the selection of 
the teaching staffs; teachers to be elected directly by the 
population with the right of the latter to remove unde- 
sirable teachers. 

As a basic condition for the democratisation of our coun- 
try's national economy, the Russian Social-Democratic 
Labour Party demands the abolition of all indirect taxes 
and the establishment of a progressive tax on incomes and 
inheritances. 



474 



V. I. LENIN 



The high level of development of capitalism already 
achieved in banking and in the trustified branches of in- 
dustry, on the one hand, and the economic disruption caused 
by the imperialist war, everywhere evoking a demand for 
state and public control of the production and distribution 
of all staple products, on the other, induce the Party to 
demand the nationalisation of the banks, syndicates (trusts), 
etc. 

To safeguard the working class from physical and moral 
deterioration, and develop its ability to carry on the struggle 
for emancipation, the Party demands: 

1) An eight-hour working day for all wage-workers. 

1) An eight-hour working day for all wage-workers, 
including a break of not less than one hour for meals where 
work is continuous. In dangerous and unhealthy industries 
the working day to be reduced to from four to six hours. 

2) A statutory weekly uninterrupted rest period of not 
less than forty-two hours for all wage-workers of both sexes 
in all branches of the national economy. 

3) Complete prohibition of overtime work. 

4) Prohibition of night-work (from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) in 
all branches of the national economy except in cases where it 
is absolutely necessary for technical reasons endorsed by the 
labour organisations. 

4) Prohibition of night-work (from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) 
in all branches of the national economy except in cases 
where it is absolutely necessary for technical reasons en- 
dorsed by the labour organisations-provided, however, 
that night-work does not exceed four hours. 

5) Prohibition of the employment of children of school age 
(under sixteen) and restriction of the working day of adoles- 
cents (from sixteen to eighteen) to six hours. 

5) Prohibition of the employment of children of school 
age (under sixteen), restriction of the working day of ado- 
lescents (from sixteen to twenty) to four hours, and pro- 
hibition of the employment of adolescents on night-work 
in unhealthy industries and mines. 

6) Prohibition of female labour in all branches of industry 
injurious to women's health; women to be released from work 
for four weeks before and six weeks after child-birth without 
loss of pay. 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



475 



6) Prohibition of female labour in all branches of in- 
dustry injurious to women's health; prohibition of night 
work for women; women to be released from work eight 
weeks before and eight weeks after child-birth without loss 
of pay and with free medical and medicinal aid. 

7) Establishment of nurseries for infants and young chil- 
dren at all factories and other enterprises where women are 
employed; nursing mothers to be allowed recesses of at least 
half-hour duration at intervals of not more than three hours. 

7) Establishment of nurseries for infants and young 
children and rooms for nursing mothers at all factories 
and other enterprises where women are employed; nursing 
mothers to be allowed recesses of at least half-hour duration 
at intervals of not more than three hours; such mothers 
to receive nursing benefit and their working day to be re- 
duced to six hours. 

8) State insurance for workers covering old age and total 
or partial disablement out of a special fund formed by a 
special tax on the capitalists. 

8) Full social insurance of workers: 

a) for all forms of wage-labour; 

b) for all forms of disablement, namely, sickness, injury, 
infirmity, old age, occupational disease, child-birth, 
widowhood, orphanhood, and also unemployment, etc. 

c) all insurance institutions to be administered entirely 
by the insured themselves; 

d) the cost of insurance to be borne by the capitalists; 

e) free medical and medicinal aid under the control of 
self-governing sick benefit societies, the management 
bodies of which are to be elected by the workers. 

9) Payment of wages in kind to be prohibited; regular weekly 
pay-days to be fixed in all labour contracts without exception 
and wages to be paid in cash and during working hours. 

10) Prohibition of deductions by employers from wages on any 
pretext or for any purpose whatsoever {fines, spoilage, etc.). 

11) Appointment of an adequate number of factory inspec- 
tors in all branches of the national economy; factory inspec- 
tion to be extended to all enterprises employing hired labour, 
including government enterprises (domestic service also to 
be liable to inspection); women inspectors to be appointed in 
industries where female labour is employed; representatives 



476 



V. I. LENIN 



elected by the workers and paid by the state to supervise the 
enforcement of the factory laws, the fixing of rates and the 
passing or rejection of raw materials and finished products. 

9) The establishment of a labour inspectorate elected 
by the workers' organisations and covering all enterprises 
employing hired labour, as well as domestic servants; 
women inspectors to be appointed in enterprises where 
female labour is employed. 

12) Local self-governing bodies, assisted by representatives 
elected by the workers, to inspect sanitary conditions at dwell- 
ings assigned to workers by employers, as well as the internal 
regulations in force in such dwellings and the renting condi- 
tions, in order to protect wage-workers against interference by 
employers in their life and activities as private citizens. 

13) The establishment of properly organised sanitary control 
over all enterprises employing hired labour, the whole system 
of medical aid and sanitary inspection to be entirely independ- 
ent of the employers; free medical aid to the workers 
at the expense of the employers, with full pay during 
sickness. 

14) Employers violating the labour protection laws to be 
liable to criminal prosecution. 

10) Sanitary laws to be enacted for improving hygienic 
conditions and protecting the life and health of workers 
in all enterprises where hired labour is employed; ques- 
tions of hygiene to be handled by the sanitary inspectorate 
elected by the workers' organisations. 

11) Housing laws to be enacted and a housing inspec- 
torate elected by the workers' organisations to be insti- 
tuted for the purpose of sanitary inspection of dwelling 
houses. However, only by abolishing private property in 
land and building cheap and hygienic dwellings can the 
housing problem be solved. 

12) Industrial courts to be established in all branches 
of the national economy. 

15) Industrial courts to be established in all branches of 
the national economy, composed of equal numbers of represent- 
atives from the workers' and employers' organisations. 

16) Employment bureaux (labour exchanges) to be estab- 
lished by the organs of local self-government in all industries 
for the hire of local and non-local workers; representatives of 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



477 



the workers and employers to participate in their adminis- 
tration. 

13) Labour exchanges to be established for the proper 
organisation of work-finding facilities. These labour ex- 
changes must be proletarian class organisations (organised 
on a non-parity basis), and must be closely associated with 
the trade unions and other working-class organisations and 
financed by the communal self-governing bodies. 

In order to do away with the relics of serfdom, which 
are a heavy yoke on the necks of the peasants, and to enable 
the class struggle to develop freely in the countryside, the 
Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party demands: 

1) The abolition of all personal and property restrictions 
imposed on the peasants by the existing system of social 
estates. 

2) The abolition of all charges and duties involved in the 
social-estate status of the peasants, and the annulment of all 
debt obligations having the nature of a usurious contract. 

3) The confiscation of church, monastery, and crown lands 
and their transfer (together with state lands) to the control 
of the higher organs of local self-government embracing urban 
and rural districts; resettlement lands and also forests and 
waters of national importance to be transferred to the demo- 
cratic state. 

4) The confiscation of privately-owned lands other than 
small holdings, and their transfer to the control of the higher, 
democratically elected organs of local self-government. The 
minimum size of a confiscatable land holding to be determined 
by the higher organs of local self-government. 

While supporting revolutionary action on the part of the 
peasantry , including confiscation of the landed estates, the 
Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party will always oppose 
any attempt to check the course of economic development. 
Though it stands for the transfer of confiscated lands to the 
democratic organs of local self-government in the event of a 
victorious development of the revolution, the Russian Social- 
Democratic Labour Party will, if circumstances prove unfa- 
vourable for such a transfer, declare itself in favour of dividing 
among the peasants those lands belonging to the landowners 
on which small-scale farming has been conducted or which are 
made up of complement farm lands. 



478 



V. I. LENIN 



1) Fights with all its strength for the immediate and 
complete confiscation of all landed estates in Russia (and 
also crown lands, church lands, etc.). 

2) Stands for the immediate transfer of all land to the 
peasantry organised in Soviets of Peasants' Deputies 
or in other organs of local self-government elected on a 
truly democratic basis and completely independent of the 
landowners and bureaucrats. 

3) Demands the nationalisation of all lands in the 
country; nationalisation implies that all property rights 
in land are vested in the state, while the right of disposal 
of the land is vested in the local democratic institu- 
tions. 

4) Encourages the initiative of those peasant committees 
which, in various localities of Russia, are turning over the 
landowners' livestock and agricultural implements to the 
peasants organised in these committees for the purpose of 
their socially regulated utilisation in the cultivation of 
the land. 

5) Advises the rural proletarians and semi-proletarians 
to strive towards turning every landed estate into a suffi- 
ciently large model farm, to be conducted on a communal 
basis by the local Soviet of Agricultural Labourers' Depu- 
ties under the direction of agricultural experts and with 
the aid of the best technical appliances. 

Furthermore, the Party under all circumstances, and 
whatever the conditions of democratic agrarian reform may 
be, will unswervingly work for the independent class organ- 
isation of the rural proletariat, will explain to the latter 
the irreconcilable antagonisms that exist between it and 
the peasant bourgeoisie, will warn it against the false attrac- 
tion of the system of petty farming, which, while commodity 
production exists, can never do away with the poverty of the 
masses, and, finally, will urge the need for a complete social- 
ist revolution as the only means of abolishing poverty and 
exploitation. 

In the endeavour to achieve its immediate aims, the Russian 
Social-Democratic Labour Party supports every oppositional 
and revolutionary movement directed against the existing 
social and political set-up in Russia, but at the same time 
emphatically rejects all reformist projects involving any 



REVISION OF THE PARTY PROGRAMME 



479 



expansion or consolidation of the guardianship of the police 
and bureaucracy over the labouring masses. 

For its part, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party 
is firmly convinced that the full, consistent, and firm reali- 
sation of all these political and social reforms can be achieved 
only by the overthrow of the autocracy and by the convocation 
of a Constituent Assembly freely elected by the entire people. 



FIRST ALL-RUSSIA CONGRESS 
OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 111 



MAY 4-28 (.MAY 17- JUNE 10), 1917 



/^^•^^L^. {'Zjp*,^ 
C^g^^y^ 0X^4 fy?*^ /P***™* <Z*p* <2*p*C 



The first page 
of Lenin's manuscript 

"Draft Resolution 
the Agrarian Question 
May 1917 



483 



1 

DRAFT RESOLUTION ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION 

1) All landed estates and privately-owned lands, as well 
as crown and church lands, etc., are to be turned over imme- 
diately to the people without any compensation. 

2) The peasantry must in an organised manner, through 
their Soviets of Peasants' Deputies, immediately take over 
all the land in their localities for the purpose of its economic 
exploitation, without however in any way prejudicing thereby 
the final establishment of land regulations by the Constit- 
uent Assembly or by the All-Russia Council of Soviets, 
should the people decide to vest the central power of the 
state in such a Council of Soviets. 

3) Private property in land must be abolished altogether, 
i.e., all the land shall belong only to the nation as a whole, 
and its disposal shall be placed in the hands of the local 
democratic institutions. 

4) The peasants must reject the advice of the capitalists 
and landowners and their Provisional Government to come 
to "an agreement" with the local landowners on the immediate 
disposal of the land; the disposal of all the land must be 
governed by the organised decision of the majority of the 
local peasants, and not by an agreement between the major- 
ity, i.e., the peasants, and the minority, and an insignifi- 
cant minority at that, i.e., the landowners. 

5) Not only the landowners are fighting and will continue 
to fight as hard as they can against the transfer of all landed 
estates to the peasants without compensation, but also the 
capitalists, who wield great power both because of their 
money and because of their influence on the as yet unen- 



484 



V. I. LENIN 



lightened masses through the newspapers and the numerous 
officials, employees, etc., who are accustomed to the domi- 
nation of capital. Hence, the transfer of all the landed estates 
to the peasantry without compensation cannot be carried 
through on a complete and secure basis unless the confidence 
of the peasant masses in the capitalists is destroyed, unless 
a close alliance is established between the peasantry and the 
urban workers, and unless state power is taken over com- 
pletely by the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', and 
other Deputies. Only state power wielded by such Soviets 
and administering the state not through a police, or a 
bureaucracy, or a standing army isolated from the people, but 
through a nation-wide, universal and armed militia of the 
workers and peasants, can guarantee the realisation of the 
above-mentioned agrarian reforms, which are being demanded 
by the entire peasantry. 

6) Agricultural labourers and poor peasants, i.e., those 
who, because of the lack of sufficient land, cattle, and im- 
plements, earn a living partly by working for hire, must strive 
their hardest to organise themselves independently into 
separate Soviets, or into separate groups within the general 
peasants' Soviets, in order to protect their interests against 
the rich peasants, who inevitably strive towards an alliance 
with the capitalists and landowners. 

7) As a result of the war, Russia, like all other belligerent 
and many neutral (non-belligerent) countries, is facing an 
economic debacle, disaster and famine owing to the shortage 
of workers, coal, iron, etc. The only way to save the country 
is by the workers' and peasants' deputies assuming control 
and management of the entire production and distribution 
of goods. It is therefore necessary to proceed immediately 
to arrange agreements between Soviets of Peasants' Depu- 
ties and Soviets of Workers' Deputies on the exchange of 
grain and other rural products for implements, footwear, 
clothing, etc., without the medium of the capitalists, who 
must be removed from the management of the factories. 
With the same purpose in view, the peasant committees 
must be encouraged to take over the livestock and imple- 
ments of the landowners, such livestock and implements to 
be used in common. Similarly, the conversion of all large 
landed estates into model farms must be encouraged, the 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



485 



land to be cultivated collectively with the aid of the best 
implements under the direction of agricultural experts and 
in accordance with the decision of the local Soviets of Agri- 
cultural Labourers' Deputies. 

Written before May 17 (30), 1917 

First published in 1917 Published according 

in the pamphlet to the manuscript 

Material on the Agrarian Question, 
Priboi Publishers 



486 



V. I. LENIN 



2 

SPEECH ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION 
MAY 22 (JUNE 4), 1917 

Comrades, the resolution that I am privileged to present 
to you in the name of the Social-Democratic group of the 
Peasants' Soviet has been printed and distributed to the 
delegates. If any delegates have not received it we shall 
have more copies printed tomorrow for distribution to all 
who wish to have them. 

In a short report I can, of course, deal only with the main, 
basic questions, those that are of greatest interest to the 
peasantry and the working class. To those interested in the 
question in greater detail, I can recommend the resolution 
of our Party, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party 
(Bolsheviks), published as a Supplement to Soldatskaya 
Pravda No. 13, and repeatedly dealt with in our newspaper 
Pravda.* At the moment I shall have to confine myself to 
elucidating the more important points of my resolution and 
of our Party programme on the agrarian question that are 
most controversial or give rise to misunderstanding. One 
of the first of these moot points is that touched upon yester- 
day or the day before in the Chief Land Committee 118 at 
the session you have probably heard about or read about in 
the newspapers of yesterday or the day before. That session 
of the Chief Land Committee was attended by a representa- 
tive of our Party, Comrade Smilga, a colleague of mine on 



See pp. 290-93 of this volume.— Ed. 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



487 



the Central Committee. He proposed to the session that the 
Chief Land Committee should express itself in favour of the 
immediate organised seizure by the peasants of the landed 
estates, but a number of violent objections were raised to 
Comrade Smilga's proposal. (Voice: "Here, too.") I am now 
told that a number of comrades here will also speak against 
that proposal. All the more reason for my clarifying that 
point in our programme, because I believe that most of the 
objections against our programme are based on a misunder- 
standing or misrepresentation of our views. 

What do all our Party resolutions, all the articles in our 
newspaper Pravda say? We say that all the land, without 
exception, must become the property of the whole nation. 
We have come to this conclusion after having studied, 
in particular, the peasant movement of 1905 and the 
statements made by peasant deputies to the First 
and Second Dumas, where many peasant deputies from all 
over Russia were able to speak with relative — relative, of 
course — freedom. 

All the land must be the property of the whole nation. 
From this it follows that in advocating the immediate 
transfer, without payment, of the landed estates to the local 
peasants we do not by any means advocate the seizure of 
those estates as private property, we do not by any means 
advocate the division of those estates. We believe the land 
should be taken by the local peasantry for one sowing in 
accordance with a decision adopted by the majority of 
local peasant deputies. We do not by any means advocate 
the transfer of this land as private property to those peasants 
who are now taking it for one sowing. All objections of this 
kind to our proposal that I am constantly hearing and read- 
ing in the columns of the capitalist newspapers are based 
on a sheer misinterpretation of our views. Since we have 
said — and I repeat: we have said that in all our resolutions — 
that the land must be the property of the whole nation and 
must be taken over by it without payment — it is obvious 
that arrangements for the final disposal of the land, the final 
establishment of land regulations must be made only by a 
central state power, that is, by a Constituent Assembly or 
an All-Russia Council of Soviets, should the masses of peas- 
ants and workers establish such state power as a Council 



488 



V. I. LENIN 



of Soviets. On this score there are no differences of opinion. 

The differences begin after this, when we are told: "If 
that is so, then any immediate uncompensated transfer of the 
landed estates to the peasantry would be an unauthorised 
act." That is the view that was expressed most exactly, most 
authoritatively and most weightily by Minister of Agri- 
culture Shingaryov in his well-known telegram; we consider 
this view to be fallacious, unfair, most prejudicial to the 
peasantry, prejudicial to the farmers, and the least likely to 
ensure the country a supply of grain. Allow me to read that 
telegram to show you what we mostly object to. 

"An independent solution of the land question in the absence of a 
general state law is inadmissible. Arbitrary action will lead to a nation- 
al calamity . . . the lawful solution of the land question is the busi- 
ness of the Constituent Assembly. At the present time agricultural 
conciliation chambers have been set up by the tillers of the land 
and the landowners in each local area under the rural supply com- 
mittees." 

This is the chief passage from the government's statement 
on this question. If you acquaint yourselves with the reso- 
lution of the Chief Land Committee on this question adopted 
yesterday or the day before, and the resolution adopted, 
also the other day, at a private meeting of Duma deputies, 
you will see that the two resolutions proceed from the same 
viewpoint. The peasants who want land handed over imme- 
diately to the peasants without payment and distributed by 
local peasant committees are accused of unauthorised acts 
on the assumption that only a voluntary agreement between 
peasants and landowners, between the tillers and the owners 
of the land, would be in accordance with the needs and 
interests of the state. That is what we deny, that is what 
we dispute. 

Let us examine the objections raised to our proposal. 
The usual objections are that the land in Russia is distrib- 
uted very unevenly, both between individual small units 
such as villages and volosts and between the bigger units such 
as gubernias and regions. It is said that if the local popula- 
tion were to take over the land by a majority decision against 
the will of the landowners and without payment at that, the 
unevenness would remain and there would even be a danger 
of it becoming perpetuated. We say in reply that this argu- 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



489 



ment is based on a misunderstanding. The uneven distribu- 
tion will remain in any case until the Constituent Assembly or 
some other central state power finally establishes a new sys- 
tem. Until such a system is established the uneven distribu- 
tion will remain whether the question is settled in the peas- 
ant's or in the landowner's way, whether in our way, with 
the immediate transfer of the land to the peasants, or 
in the way of the landowners, who are prepared to lease 
their land out at a high rent provided the tenant farmer and 
the landowner each retains his own rights. This objection 
is obviously incorrect and unjust. We say that a central 
state power must be established as quickly as possible, one 
that not only relies on the will and the decision of the peas- 
ant majority, but also directly expresses the opinion of 
that majority. There are no differences on this score. When 
we hear objections to the Bolsheviks, attacks levelled against 
us in the capitalist newspapers accusing us of being an- 
archists, we repudiate such accusations most emphatically 
and regard them as an attempt to spread malicious lies and 
slander. 

Anarchists are those who deny the need for a state power, 
whereas we say that a state power is absolutely necessary, 
not only for Russia today but for any state, even one that 
goes over directly to socialism. Without doubt the firmest 
possible authority is necessary. All we want is for that power 
to be wholly and exclusively in the hands of the majority 
of workers', soldiers', and peasants' deputies. That is where 
we differ from other parties. By no means do we deny the 
need for a firm state power; we only say that all landed 
estates must pass into the hands of the peasants without pay- 
ment, in accordance with a decision of the local peasant 
committee adopted by the majority, and on the condition 
that no damage is done to property. This is stated most 
explicitly in our resolution. We emphatically reject any 
allegation that our view implies an arbitrary act. 

In our opinion, on the contrary, if the landowners keep 
back the land for their own use or charge money for it, that is 
an arbitrary act, but if the majority of peasants say that the 
landed estates must not remain in the hands of their owners, 
and that the peasantry has known nothing but oppression 
by those landowners for decades, for centuries, that is not 



490 



V. I. LENIN 



arbitrary, that is the restitution of justice, and we cannot 
put off that restitution. If the land is transferred to the peas- 
ants immediately the unevenness among the regions cannot 
be eliminated, that is indisputable; but nobody can elimi- 
nate that unevenness until the Constituent Assembly meets. 
If you were to ask Shingaryov today — that same Shingaryov 
who raises objections to us and reviles the champions of 
our views in official papers for "arbitrary action" — if you 
were to ask him what he proposes to do about that unevenness, 
he would be unable to answer you. He does not and cannot 
propose anything. 

He speaks about "voluntary agreement between peasants 
and landowners". What does that mean? I will cite two basic 
figures on landownership in European Russia. These figures 
show that at one end of the Russian village there are the 
most wealthy landowners, among them the Romanovs, the 
richest and the worst of landowners, and at the other end 
are the extremely poor peasants. I am citing two figures 
to show you the significance of the sermon preached by Shin- 
garyov and all landowners and capitalists. These are the two 
figures: if we take the richest landowners of European Russia, 
we shall see that the biggest of them, numbering less than 
30,000, own about 70,000,000 dessiatines of land. That 
works out at over 2,000 dessiatines each. If you take the upper 
crust of rich Russian landowners, irrespective of what social 
estate they belong to (most of them are nobles, but there are 
other landowners as well), you find that there are 30,000 of 
them and they own 70,000,000 dessiatines! And if you take 
the poor peasants according to the same 1905 Census, which 
is the latest available information gathered uniformly 
throughout Russia — information, which, like all statistics 
gathered in tsarist times by tsarist civil servants, is none 
too trustworthy, although it does give some approximation 
of the truth, some data can be compared — if you take the 
poor peasantry you get 10,000,000 households owning from 
70,000,000 to 75,000,000 dessiatines of land. This means 
that one person has over 2,000 dessiatines and the other 
seven and a half-dessiatines per household! And they say 
the peasants are guilty of arbitrary acts if they do not enter 
into a voluntary agreement. What is meant by "voluntary 
agreement"? It means that the landowners may perhaps let 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



491 



you have land for a good rent but will not give it up to any- 
body without payment. Is that just? Of course it is not. Is 
that profitable to the peasant population? Of course it is 
not. The form in which landed property will ultimately be 
established is for the future central state authority to decide, 
but at the present time the landed estates must be immedi- 
ately transferred to the peasantry without compensation, 
provided the seizure is organised. Minister Chernov, oppos- 
ing my colleague Smilga in the Chief Land Committee, 
said that the two words "organised seizure" are a contradic- 
tion in terms; if it's a seizure, then it is unorganised, and 
if it's organised, then it is not a seizure. I do not think this 
criticism is correct. I think that if the peasantry make a 
majority decision in any village or volost, any uyezd or 
gubernia — in some gubernias, if not all, the peasant con- 
gresses have set up local authorities representing the inter- 
ests and will of the majority, the will of the population, 
i.e., of the majority of the tillers of the soil — once these 
authorities are set up in the localities the decision they make 
will be the decision of authorities recognised by the peas- 
ants. The local peasantry are certain to respect these 
authorities, for there is no doubt that these freely elected 
authorities will decide that the landed estates must immedi- 
ately pass into the hands of the peasants. Let the peasant 
know that he is taking the estate of the landowner, and if 
he pays anything, let him pay it into a local peasant fund, 
and let him know that the money will go towards farm 
improvements, paving and road building, etc. Let him know 
that the land he is taking is not his land, nor is it the land- 
owner s, but the common property of the people, which 
the Constituent Assembly will, in the end, dispose of. For 
this reason the landowners must have no right to the land 
from the very beginning of the revolution, from the moment 
the first land committee was set up, and no payment should 
be required for it. 

The basic difference between ourselves and our opponents 
is in our respective understanding of what order is and what 
law is. Up to now law and order have been regarded as things 
that suited the landowners and bureaucrats, but we maintain 
that law and order are things that suit the majority of the 
peasantry. Until there is an All-Russia Council of Soviets, 



492 



V. I. LENIN 



until there is a Constituent Assembly, local authority — uyezd 
and gubernia committees — constitutes the supreme law 
and order! We call it lawlessness when one landowner, on 
the basis of ancient rights, demands a "voluntary" agreement 
with three hundred peasant families who have an average 
of seven and a half dessiatines of land each! We say: "Let 
a decision be taken by the majority; we want the peasants to 
obtain the landed estates now, without losing a single 
month, a single week or even a single day." 

We are told: "If the peasants seize the land now, it is the 
richer peasants who will get it, those who have animals, 
implements, etc.; would this, therefore, not be dangerous 
from the point of view of the poor peasants?" Comrades, I 
must dwell on this argument, because our Party, in all our 
decisions, programmes and appeals to the people, declares: 
"We are the party of wage-workers and poor peasants; it is 
their interests we are out to protect; it is through them, and 
through them alone, through those classes, that mankind 
can escape the horrors into which the capitalists' war has 
plunged it." 

To objections like these, claiming that our decisions are 
contrary to the interests of the poor peasants, we pay careful 
attention and invite a most careful study of them because 
they touch the very heart of the matter, the very root of 
the problem. And the heart of the matter is this: how can 
the interests of the wage-workers, both urban and rural, 
and the interests of the poor peasants be protected in the 
revolution, in the transformation of the political system, 
that is now taking place in Russia, how can and should 
their interests be protected against those of the landowners 
or rich peasants who are also capitalists? That, of course, 
is the crux of the matter, the nub of the whole problem. But 
we are told that if we advise the peasants to seize the land 
immediately, it is those who have implements and animals 
who will mostly do the seizing and the poor will be left out 
of the picture. And now I ask you — will a voluntary agree- 
ment with the landowners help? 

You know very well that the landowners are not anxious 
to rent out land to those peasants who have not got a kopek 
in their pockets, but, on the contrary, resort to "voluntary" 
agreements where they are promised substantial payment. 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



493 



Up to now the landowners do not seem to have been giving 
their land away for nothing — at least nobody in Russia 
ever noticed it. 

To speak of voluntary agreements with the landowners 
means greatly increasing and consolidating the privileged, 
preferential position and the advantages enjoyed by the rich 
peasant, because the rich peasant can certainly pay the land- 
owner and every landowner regards him as a person who is 
good for his money. The landowner knows that the rich 
peasant can pay and that he can be sued for the money, 
so that the rich peasant has more to gain by such 
"voluntary" deals with the landowners than the poor peasant. 
If there is any possibility of helping the poor peasant 
straight away, it is by a measure such as I propose — the 
land must go to the peasants immediately and without 
payment. 

Landed estates always have been and will be a flagrant 
injustice. The free tenure of that land by the peasants, if 
the tenure is in accordance with the will of the majority, 
will not be an arbitrary act but a restitution of justice. 
That is our point of view, and that is why we consider 
the argument that the poor peasantry would lose by 
it to be a great injustice. The agreement is called 
"voluntary" — only Shingaryov could call it that — when one 
landowner has 2,000 dessiatines and 300 peasants have an 
average of seven and a half per family. To call such an agree- 
ment voluntary is sheer mockery of the peasants. For the 
peasant it is not a voluntary agreement, but a compulsory 
one, and will be such until every volost, gubernia or uyezd 
peasant Soviet or the All-Russia Council of Soviets declares 
that the landed estates are a gross injustice and that they 
must be abolished without losing a single hour, a single 
minute. 

The land must be the property of the entire people, and 
must be declared such by a central state power. Until that 
power is established, the local authorities, I again repeat, 
should take over the landed estates and should do so in an 
organised manner according to the will of the majority. It is 
not true, as the newspapers assert, that disorder reigns in 
Russia! It isn't true — there is greater order in the country- 
side than ever before, because majority decisions are being 



494 



V. I. LENIN 



made; there have been scarcely any acts of violence against 
the landowners; unfair treatment of the landowners has 
occurred only in isolated cases; they are insignificant and in 
Russia as a whole are not more in number than those which 
formerly occurred. 

Now I want to mention another argument that I have heard 
and had occasion to deal with in our newspaper Pravda in 
connection with the immediate transfer of the land to the 
peasantry.* 

The argument is this: if we advise the peasants to take over 
the landed estates immediately and without payment, this 
will cause discontent, annoyance and anxiety and perhaps 
even indignation among the soldiers at the front who may 
say, "If the peasants take the land now and we have to 
stay at the front, we shall be left without land." Perhaps 
the soldiers would all leave the front and chaos and anarchy 
would result. But in answer to this we say that this objec- 
tion has nothing to do with the real issue; whether the land 
is taken for payment, by agreement with the landowners, 
or by a decision of the majority of the peasantry, in either 
case the soldiers will remain at the front and will certainly 
remain there as long as the war lasts and will not be able to 
return to their villages. Why should the soldiers at the 
front not be anxious about the landowners imposing unfa- 
vourable terms in the form of a voluntary agreement, why 
should they be anxious about the peasants making a major- 
ity decision against the landowners? It is incomprehensible! 
Why should the soldier at the front place his trust in the 
landowner, in a "voluntary" agreement with the landowner? 
I can understand the political parties of the landowners and 
capitalists talking like this, but I do not believe that the 
Russian soldier at the front sees it that way. If there is a 
"voluntary" agreement with the landowner, the soldier 
will not call it good order, will not place his trust in it, he 
is more likely to see in it a continuation of the old disorder 
that existed under the landowners. 

If the soldier is told that the land is being taken over by 
the people, that the local peasants are renting land and 



See pp. 449-53 of this volume.— Ed. 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



495 



paying rent, not to the landowner but to their own committee 
for the common good, for those very soldiers at the front, 
and not for the landowner, he is more likely to have faith 
in this. If this is a majority decision, the soldier at the front 
will know that there cannot be any "voluntary" agreements 
with landowners, that the landowners are also citizens with 
equal rights whom nobody wishes to wrong; the land belongs 
to the entire nation, consequently it belongs also to the 
landowner, not as a privilege of the nobility, but in the same 
way as it belongs to any other citizen. From the day the 
power of the tsar was overthrown — a tsar who was the 
biggest landowner and oppressor of the masses — there 
must be no privileges for the landowners. With the 
establishment of liberty, the power of the landowners 
must be considered overthrown once and for all. The 
soldier at the front does not stand to lose anything from 
this point of view; on the contrary, he will have much 
greater faith in the state authorities, he will not worry 
about his household or about his family being treated 
unjustly or being neglected. 

There remains one other objection that has been raised 
to our proposal. This argument is that if the peasants were 
to seize the landed estates immediately, such immediate, 
poorly prepared seizure might lead to a deterioration in 
the tilling and sowing of the land. I must say that a govern- 
ment of the majority, a central state power, has not yet been 
established, the peasants have not yet acquired sufficient 
confidence in themselves and have not lost their trust in 
the landowners and capitalists; I believe that we are drawing 
closer to this day by day, that the peasantry are day by day 
losing their confidence in the old state power and realising 
that only the peasants', soldiers', workers' and other elect- 
ed deputies and nobody else can constitute the government 
in Russia; I believe that every passing day brings us closer 
to this, not because any political party has advised it — 
millions of people will never listen to the advice of parties 
if that advice does not fall in with their own experience. 
We are rapidly approaching the time when there will be no 
other state power in Russia except the power of the repre- 
sentatives of the peasants and workers. When I am told 
that the immediate seizure of the land is likely to lead to 



496 



V. I. LENIN 



its being poorly cultivated, that the sowing will be poor, I 
must say that our peasants cultivate the land very poorly 
because of their downtrodden condition, because of centu- 
ries of oppression by the landowners. There is, of course, 
a fearful crisis in Russia, a crisis that has hit her as it has 
other belligerent countries, and Russia can only weather it 
by better cultivation of the land and the greatest economy of 
manpower. But today, at the time of the first sowing of 
crops, can anything be changed by "voluntary" agreements 
with the landowners? Are we to understand that the land- 
owners will better look after the cultivation of the soil, that 
the peasants will sow worse if they know they are sowing 
land which is the property of the whole people and not of 
the landowner? If they pay rent into their own peasant 
funds and not to the landowner? This is such nonsense that 
I am astonished to hear such arguments; it is absolutely 
unbelievable and is nothing but a ruse on the part of the 
landowners. 

The landowners realise that they can no longer rule by 
means of the big stick; they realise that very well, and are 
adopting a form of rule that is new to Russia but which has 
existed for a long time in Western Europe, in the West- 
European countries. Two revolutions in Russia have shown 
that the rule of the stick is no longer possible, and in the 
West-European countries dozens of revolutions have demon- 
strated it. Those revolutions have taught the landowners 
and capitalists a lesson; they have taught them that they have 
to rule the people by deception, by flattery; that they have 
to adapt themselves, wear a red badge on their jackets, and, 
sharks though they are, declare: "We are revolutionary dem- 
ocrats, please wait a bit and we'll do everything for you." 
The argument that the peasants will make a worse job of 
the sowing now if they sow land which no longer belongs to 
the landowners but is national property, is simply making 
fun of the peasants, it is an attempt to maintain rule over 
them by means of deception. 

I repeat — there must be no landed proprietorship at all; 
tenure is not proprietorship, tenure is a temporary measure 
and it changes from year to year. The peasant who rents a 
plot of land does not dare regard the land as his own. The 
land is not his nor the landowner's, it belongs to the people. 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



497 



I repeat that this cannot make the sowing of crops this 
year, this spring, any worse. That assumption is so monstrous 
and improbable that there is only one thing for me to say — 
beware of the landowners, do not trust them, do not be taken 
in by fair words and promises. It must be remembered that 
a decision made by a majority of peasants, who are careful 
enough in making decisions, is a lawful decision of state 
significance. In this respect the peasants are to be relied 
upon. I have, for example, a decision passed by Penza peas- 
ants which is worded throughout with extraordinary cau- 
tion; the peasants are not planning any immediate changes 
for the whole of Russia, but they do not want to place them- 
selves in intolerable bondage, and in this they are right. The 
greatest bondage was that of the peasant to the landowner, 
and such it remains, bondage to the landowners and oppres- 
sors. The abolition of that bondage, therefore, must not be 
put off for a single week, even a single hour; but every seizure 
must be an organised seizure, not to make property of the 
seized land, not to divide it up, but to use it in common, as 
the property of the whole people. 

I could finish with this question of the seizure of land by 
answering that the objections against our proposal are based 
on deception when they come from the landowners and capi- 
talists, and on misunderstanding, on a too credulous belief 
in what the landowners and capitalists say untruthfully 
against us when they come from those who are neither land- 
owners nor capitalists but people who have the interests 
of the working people at heart. If you examine our arguments 
you will see that the just demand that the landed estates be 
abolished immediately and similarly that property in land 
belong to the people cannot be put into effect until a central 
government is established, but what we do advise, and urge 
most insistently, is that the peasants themselves, right on 
the spot, in the localities, take over the land so as to avoid 
any breach of good order. We offer this advice in our reso- 
lutions, but perhaps it is superfluous, since the peasants are 
doing this without our advice. 

I shall pass to the second question, the one to which the 
greatest attention should be drawn, the question of what we 
think should be done with the land in the best interests of 
the masses when it becomes the property of the whole people, 



498 



V. I. LENIN 



when private property is abolished. That time is close at 
hand in Russia. In fact, the landowners' power, if not de- 
stroyed, has been undermined. When all the peasants are in 
possession of the land, when there are no landowners, how 
are we to distribute the land? It seems to me that we must 
have some sort of common, basic view on this question, be- 
cause, obviously, local arrangements will always be made by 
the peasantry. It cannot be otherwise in a democratic state; 
this is so obvious that there is no need even to talk about it. 
But in answer to the question of what must be done to secure 
the land for the working people, we say: 'We want to protect 
the interests of the wage-workers and poor peasants." Our 
Russian Social-Democratic Party of Bolsheviks regards 
this as its duty. We ask ourselves: If we say that the land 
will belong to the nation is that the same as saying the land 
will belong to the working people? Our answer is: No, it 
is not the same thing! By saying that the land will belong to 
the nation, we mean that landed property will be abolished; 
we mean that all the land will belong to the whole people; 
we mean that anyone who uses land will rent it from the 
nation. If such an arrangement is made no differences in land 
tenure will remain, all the land will be alike, and, as the 
peasants often say, "All the old bounds and barriers will 
fall away, the land will be unfenced — there will be free soil, 
and free labour." 

Does that mean that the land will be handed over to all 
working people? No, it does not. Free labour on free soil 
means that all the old forms of land tenure will be abolished 
and there will be no other form of ownership than national 
ownership; everyone rents land from the state; there is a single 
state authority, that of all the workers and peasants; a peas- 
ant can rent land from it as a leaseholder; between the 
peasant and the state there are no middlemen; the terms on 
which land is rented are equal for all; that is free labour on 
free soil. 

Does that mean that the land will be handed over to all 
the working people? No, it does not. You cannot eat land, 
and to farm it you need implements, animals, equipment, 
and money; without money, without implements, you cannot 
farm. And so, when you set up a system of free labour on 
free soil, there will be no landed estates, no categories on 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



499 



the land. 119 There will be only land which is national 
property and free tenants renting land from the state. When 
you set up this system it will not mean the transfer of the 
land to all the working people, it will merely mean that 
every farmer will freely dispose of his land; anybody 
who wants land will be free to rent it from the state. That 
will be a big step forward compared with the Russia of the 
tsars and landowners. It will be a big step forward because 
Russia of the tsars and landowners was a country in which 
70,000,000 dessiatines were given over to 30,000 Markovs, 
Romanovs and other such landowners; it will be a Russia 
in which there will be free labour on free soil. This has 
already been done in many places. Already now Russia is 
ahead of the Russia of the tsars and landowners, but this is 
not a transfer of land to the working people, it is the transfer 
of land to the farmer, because if the land belongs to the state, 
and those people take it who want to farm it, that is not 
enough; it is not enough to want to farm, the ability to farm 
is also needed, and even ability is not enough. Any farm la- 
bourer or day-labourer has that ability, but he does not have 
sufficient animals, implements, and capital, so that no mat- 
ter how many decisions are taken, no matter how much we 
talk about it, we shall not establish free labour on free soil 
in that way. Even if we were to hang up notices about free 
soil in every volost administration, it would not improve 
matters as far as the working people are concerned, any more 
than the prisons in West-European republics would cease 
to be prisons because they had the words "Liberty, Equality 
and Fraternity" inscribed on them. If the words "Liberty, 
Equality and Fraternity" are written on a factory, as in Amer- 
ica, the factory does not thereby cease to be a hell for the 
workers and a paradise for the capitalists. 

And so we have to think of what to do further, how to 
ensure that there should not be merely free labour — that is 
a step forward, but it is still not a step towards protecting 
the interests of the working people; it is a step towards 
liberation from the landowner sharks, from exploitation 
by the landowners, liberation from the Markovs, from the 
police, etc., but it is not a step towards protecting the inter- 
ests of the working people, because the poor, propertyless 
peasant cannot do anything with the land without animals, 



500 



V. I. LENIN 



implements, and capital. That is why I am very sceptical 
about the two so-called norms or standards of land tenure, 
the labour standard and the subsistence standard. I know 
that arguments about these two norms and explanations of 
them are always to be met with in the Narodnik parties. 
I know that those parties hold the view that these two norms, 
these two standards, must be established — the labour stand- 
ard is the largest amount of land a family can till; the sub- 
sistence standard is one just sufficient to feed the family, 
less would mean hunger. I have said that I am very sceptical 
about this question of standards or norms and I believe it is 
a bureaucrat's plan that will not do any good; it can't be put 
into practice even if it were decided upon here. That is the 
crux of the whole matter! That plan cannot relieve the posi- 
tion of the hired labourers and poor peasants to any appreci- 
able extent, and even if you accept it, it will remain on paper 
so long as capitalism dominates. That plan does not help us 
find the true road for the transition from capitalism to so- 
cialism. 

When people speak of these two norms, these two standards, 
they imagine that only two things exist — the land and the 
citizen, as if there had never been anything else in the world. 
If that were so, the plan would be a good one. But that is 
not so — there exists the power of capital, the power of mon- 
ey; without money there cannot be any farming on the freest 
land, no matter what "standards" of it you have, because as 
long as money remains wage-labour will remain. And this 
means that the rich peasants — and there are no less than a 
million families of them in Russia — are oppressing and ex- 
ploiting hired labourers, and will continue to oppress them on 
the "free" soil. Those rich peasants constantly, not by way of 
exception but as a general rule, resort to the hiring of workers 
by the year, by the season and by the day, that is, they resort 
to the exploitation of the poor peasants, the proletarians. 
Alongside this you have millions and millions of peasants 
who have no horses and cannot exist without selling their 
labour-power, without doing seasonal work for somebody 
else, etc. As long as the power of money, the power of capi- 
tal, remains, no matter what "standards" of land tenure you 
establish they will at best be useless in practice because 
they do not take into consideration the chief factor — 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



501 



that property in implements, animals, and money is dis- 
tributed unevenly; they do not take into consideration the 
existence of the hired labour that is exploited. That is a basic 
fact in the present-day life of Russia, and there is no getting 
away from it; but if we establish any kind of "standards", life 
will bypass them and they will remain on paper. To protect 
the interests of the propertyless, poor peasants in this great 
transformation of Russia in which you are now engaged and 
which you will undoubtedly carry through, when private 
property in land will be abolished and a step forward will 
have been made towards the better, socialist future; to pro- 
tect the interests of the workers and poor peasants in this 
great work of transformation that you are only just beginning, 
which will go a long way forward and which, it may be said 
without exaggeration, will undoubtedly be brought to com- 
pletion in Russia because there is no power that can stop it, 
we must not take the road of establishing norms or standards, 
but must find some other way. 

I and my Party comrades, in whose name I have the 
honour to speak, know of only two ways of protecting the 
interests of agricultural labourers and poor peasants, and we 
recommend these two ways to the Peasants' Soviet for its 
attention. 

The first way is to organise the agricultural labourers 
and poor peasants. We should like, and we advise it, to have 
in each peasant committee, in each volost, uyezd and guber- 
nia, a separate group of agricultural labourers and poor 
peasants who will have to ask themselves: "If the land 
becomes the property of the whole people tomorrow — and it 
certainly will, because the people want it to — then where 
do we come in? Where shall we, who have no animals or 
implements, get them from? How are we to farm the land? 
How must we protect our interests? How are we to make 
sure that the land, which will belong to the whole people, 
which will really be the property of the nation, should not 
fall only into the hands of proprietors! If it falls into the 
hands of those who own enough animals and implements, 
shall we gain anything by it? Is that what we made this great 
revolution for? Is that what we wanted?" 

The "people" will have the land, but that is not enough 
to protect the interests of agricultural labourers. It is not 



502 



V. I. LENIN 



a matter of us here, from above, or the peasant committee, 
establishing a "standard" of land to be held by individuals. 
Such measures will not help as long as capital is dominant, 
and they will not offer deliverance from the domination of 
capitalism. There is only one way to escape the yoke of 
capitalism and ensure that the people's land goes to the 
working people, and that is by organising the agricultural 
labourers, who will be guided by their experience, their 
observations and their distrust of what the village sharks 
tell them, even though these sharks wear red rosettes in 
their buttonholes and call themselves "revolutionary demo- 
crats". 

The poor peasants can only be taught by independent 
organisation in the localities, they can only learn from their 
own experience. That experience will not be easy, we cannot 
and do not promise them a land flowing with milk and honey. 
The landowners will be thrown out because the people wish 
it, but capitalism will remain. It is much more difficult to 
do away with capitalism, and the road to its overthrow is 
a different one. It is the road of independent, separate 
organisation of the agricultural labourers and the poor 
peasants. And that is what our Party proposes in the first 
instance. 

Only this road promises a gradual, difficult, but real and 
certain transfer of the land to the working people. 

The second step which our Party recommends is that every 
big economy, for example, every big landed estate, of which 
there are 30,000 in Russia, should be organised as soon as 
possible into a model farm for the common cultivation of the 
land jointly by agricultural labourers and scientifically 
trained agronomists, using the animals, implements, etc., 
of the landowner for that purpose. Without this common 
cultivation under the direction of the Soviets of Agricultural 
Labourers the land will not go entirely to the working people. 
To be sure, joint cultivation is a difficult business and it 
would be madness of course for anybody to imagine that 
joint cultivation of the land can be decreed from above and 
imposed on people, because the centuries-old habit of farm- 
ing on one's own cannot suddenly disappear, and because 
money will be needed for it and adaptation to the new mode 
of life. If this advice, this view, on the common cultivation 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



503 



of the land with commonly owned animals and implements 
to be used to the best purpose jointly with agronomists — if 
this advice-were the invention of individual political parties, 
the case would be a bad one, because changes are not made in 
the life of a people on the advice of a party, because tens of 
millions of people do not make a revolution on the advice 
of a party, and such a change would be much more of a revo- 
lution than the overthrow of the weak-minded Nicholas 
Romanov. I repeat, tens of millions of people will not make 
a revolution to order, but will do so when driven to it by 
dire need, when their position is an impossible one, when the 
joint pressure and determination of tens of millions of people 
break down the old barriers and are actually capable of 
creating a new way of life. When we advise such a measure, 
and advise caution in the handling of it, saying that it is 
becoming necessary, we are not drawing that conclusion 
from our programme, from our socialist doctrine alone, but 
because we, as socialists, have come to this conclusion by 
studying the life of the West-European nations. We know 
that there have been many revolutions over there and that 
they have established democratic republics; we know that in 
America in 1865 the slave-owners were defeated and hundreds 
of millions of dessiatines of land were distributed among the 
peasantry for nothing or next to nothing, and nevertheless 
capitalism dominates there more than anywhere else and 
oppresses the mass of the working people as badly as, if not 
worse than, in other countries. This is the socialist teaching, 
this is our study of other nations that firmly convinces us 
that without the common cultivation of the land by agri- 
cultural labourers using the best machinery and guided by 
scientifically trained agronomists there is no escape from the 
yoke of capitalism. But if we were to be guided only by the 
experience of the West-European countries it would be very 
bad for Russia, because the Russian people in the mass are 
only capable of taking a serious step along that new path 
when the direst need arises. And we say to you: the time has 
now come when that dire need for the entire Russian people 
is knocking at the door. The dire need I speak of is precisely 
this — we cannot continue farming in the old way. If we 
continue as before on our small isolated farms, albeit as 
free citizens on free soil, we are still faced with imminent 



504 



V. I. LENIN 



ruin, for the debacle is drawing nearer day by day, hour by 
hour. Everyone is talking about it; it is a grim fact, due not 
to the malice of individuals but to the world war of conquest, 
to capitalism. 

The war has exterminated millions of people, has drenched 
the world in blood, brought it to the brink of disaster. 
This is no exaggeration, nobody can vouch for what will 
happen tomorrow; everyone is talking about it. Take the 
newspaper Izvestia of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' 
Deputies — everybody there is saying that the capitalists 
are resorting to slow-down tactics and lockouts. That means 
there is no work and the capitalists are laying off large num- 
bers of workers. That is what this criminal war has brought 
all countries to, and not Russia alone. 

That is why we say that farming on individual plots, 
even if it is "free labour on free soil", is no way out of the 
dreadful crisis, it offers no deliverance from the general ruin. 
A universal labour service is necessary, the greatest economy 
of manpower is necessary, an exceptionally strong and firm 
authority is necessary, an authority capable of effecting 
that universal labour service; it cannot be done by officials, 
it can be done only by the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', 
and Peasants' Deputies, because they are the people, they 
are the masses, because they are not a government of offi- 
cials, because they, knowing the life of the peasant from top 
to bottom, can organise labour conscription, can organise 
that protection of human labour that would not permit the 
squandering of the peasant's labour, and the transition to 
common cultivation would, under these circumstances, be 
carried out gradually and with circumspection. It is a dif- 
ficult business, but it is necessary to go over to common 
cultivation on big model farms; if that is not done it will 
be impossible for Russia to find a way out of the debacle, 
out of the truly desperate situation in which she finds 
herself, and it would be the greatest mistake to think that 
such a gigantic transformation in the life of the people can 
be made at a single stroke. That cannot be done, it requires 
the greatest labour effort, it requires concentration, deter- 
mination and energy on the part of each peasant and worker 
at his own place, at his own particular job, which he knows 
and has been working at for years. It is not a thing that can 



FIRST CONGRESS OF PEASANTS' DEPUTIES 



505 



be done by any sort of decree, but it is a thing that must be 
done, because this war of conquest has brought all mankind 
to the brink of destruction; tens of millions of lives have 
been lost, and still more will be lost in this terrible war 
unless we strain our efforts, unless all organisations of the 
Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies take joint and 
determined action towards the common cultivation of the 
soil without the capitalists and without the landowners. 
That path is the only one that will lead to the real transfer 
of the land to the working people. 



Published May 25, 1917 
in Izvestia of the All-Russia Soviet 

of Peasants' Deputies No. 14; 

and in December 1917 in the 
pamphlet Material on the Agrarian 

Question, Priboi Publishers 



Published according 
to the text of the pamphlet 
verified with the newspaper text 



506 



PARTIES IN THE PETROGRAD DISTRICT 
COUNCIL ELECTIONS 

The lists of candidates for members of the district councils 
have been published (in a free supplement to Vedomosti 
Obshchestvennovo Gradonachalstva for May 17 120 ). Unfor- 
tunately, information is given only for ten districts. Never- 
theless, we have a very clear and striking picture of party 
alignments, a picture that deserves close study on account 
of its electioneering value and the light it throws on the 
class ties of the different parties. 

Partisanship, as we know, is both a condition for and in- 
dex of political development. The more politically developed 
and enlightened the given population or given class is, the 
higher, as a general rule, is its party organisation. This rule is 
borne out by the experience of all civilised countries. From 
the point of view of the class struggle that is obviously how 
it should be. Non-partisanship or insufficient party crystalli- 
sation and party organisation implies at best class instabili- 
ty (at worst, this deficiency signifies deception of the masses 
by political charlatans — a thing that is only too well known 
in parliamentary countries). 

What, then, do the published lists of candidates in Petro- 
grad reveal to us in the matter of party alignments? 

Altogether 71 lists have been put forward in 10 districts. 
The first thing we notice is that they fall into five major 
groups. 

1. The R.S.D.L.P. — the Bolsheviks. Lists have been put 
forward in all 10 districts. Our Party has formed a bloc with 
two other groups — the Inter-District group and the interna- 
tionalist Mensheviks. This bloc is strictly based on princi- 
ples and is openly proclaimed in resolutions passed by our 




dm t-n nw [» m v. v] ms r. ehiejheihah ta3eta. H\h* Mi 8 «on. Hi St. 




The front page of Pravda No. 64, for June 6 (May 24), 1917 featuring 
Lenin's article "Parties in the Petrograd District Council Elections" 



Reduced 



PARTIES IN THE PETROGRAD D.C. ELECTIONS 



509 



Party's Petrograd and All-Russia conferences.* The funda- 
mental issue in contemporary political life both in Russia and 
the rest of the world is that of the struggle of proletarian 
internationalism against the chauvinism (or "defencism") 
of the big and petty bourgeoisie. Our Party has publicly 
declared its determination to work for closer relations and 
unity among all internationalists (see the resolution of the 
All-Russia Conference on uniting the internationalists 
against the petty-bourgeois defencist bloc). 

The party of the proletariat has taken a clear, open 
and honest stand on the issues involved in the elections. 

2. A no less clear class physiognomy is shown by the 
party of "people's freedom", namely, the Cadets, actually 
the party of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. They, 
too, have put forward 10 party lists in all 10 districts. 
As we know, all the parties of the landowners and capitalists 
are now supporting the Cadets, but for the time being they 
do so on the quiet. 

3. Third as regards clearly defined party alignment comes 
the new-fledged Radical-Democratic Party, which has put 
forward its lists in only 6 out of the 10 districts. This un- 
known party is obviously another capitalist party which hopes 
to "pull" the votes of the men in the street by non-committal 
promises — something in the nature of Cadets in disguise. 

4. Fourth comes a group that has put up 17 lists in 9 
districts — a motley assortment of Narodniks (Trudoviks, 
Socialist-Revolutionaries, and Popular Socialists) and Men- 
sheviks with the addition of the notorious Yedinstvo 
group in varied combinations. 121 

A regular petty-bourgeois hodge-podge and petty-bour- 
geois lack of principles! Not one of these groups and parties 
has dared to come out in advance with an open statement of 
principles in support of their decision to work for closer 
relations and unity. They have been swept along by events, 
and are trailing after the chauvinists. They have all fallen 
into the same mire and are floundering in it like the true 
philistines they are. They are trying to worm themselves 
into each district in every way they can. If it can't be done 
by hook it will have to be done by crook — that is their motto. 



See pp. 159-60 and 294 of this volume.— Ed. 



510 



V. I. LENIN 



If they are all of one mind on defencism or on supporting 
the coalition cabinet, then why don't they join forces to 
fight the elections in a united, open, political bloc recognis- 
ing a set of definite principles? 

The whole trouble is that the petty bourgeoisie, that is 
to say, the Narodniks and Mensheviks, lack principles and 
the spirit of party. They are all defencists and ministerial- 
ists. Yet they do not trust one another. In one district the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries run independently, in another 
they make common cause with the Popular Socialists and 
the Trudoviks (with people who approve of compensation for 
the landowners! With parties whom the S.R.s Vikhlayev, 
Chernov and Co. in 1906-07 openly accused of worshipping 
at the shrine of proprietary instincts!). More often than not 
they make common cause with the Mensheviks, sometimes 
with Yedinstvo, that very same Yedinstvo of which Dyelo 
Naroda writes in either a hostile or contemptuous tone. 

Never mind! The man in the street will swallow anything! 
The petty bourgeois does not bother his head about partyism 
or principles. In the newspaper "we" are against Yedinstvo, 
but in order to get into the District Councils "we" are for 
it.... 

Exactly like the Mensheviks. They too, in their paper, 
are against Yedinstvo, and at their All-Russia conference 122 
they greeted the notorious Deutsch with shouts of disapprov- 
al — a fact of which Yedinstvo complained openly. Never 
mind, the man in the street has a short memory. We shall 
act in the man-in-the-street way! "In principle" we are 
against the Deutsches and the Jordanskys, we are ashamed of 
them in front of the workers, but when it comes to getting a 
political berth for ourselves we don't mind running with 
these gentlemen on the same tickets! 

Let all the class-conscious workers know, and let them 
spread the news about it among the working-class masses, that 
the bloc of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and all the Narod- 
niks with the Mensheviks is a bloc of people who are trying 
to sneak in the Yedinstvo heroes, a bloc of people who are 
ashamed of their allies. 

In two districts, Kazansky and Spassky, there are no 
Mensheviks or S.R.s at all. Apparently they have concealed 
their identity in the lists of the District Soviets, i.e., in the 



PARTIES IN THE PETROGRAD D.C. ELECTIONS 



511 



lists of non-party candidates (in each district the number of 
candidates is incomplete — 38 and 28 respectively against 
54 and 44 of the Cadet Party and 43 and 46 of our Party). 
In two districts, therefore, the petty-bourgeois parties 
found even their motley semi-partyism too much for them, 
and landed for good and all in the mire of non-partyism — 
"who cares for parties, the thing is to get elected!" That, 
always and everywhere, has been the motto of bourgeois 
parliamentarians. 

5. In the fifth group non-partisanship reigns supreme. They 
have 28 lists in 10 districts, and most of these groups exist 
in one district only. This is philistinism at its local nar- 
rowest. And what a mixed crowd they are! We have here a 
"House Management", a "Group of Employees in Educational 
Institutions", an "Honesty, Accountancy, and Fairness 
Group" (believe it or not ...) and a group of "Democratic 
Republicans and Socialist Functionaries Nominated by 
Non-Party Toilers, Republican Democrats, Working in the 
House Committees".... 

Comrade workers! Let us all get down to work, canvassing 
all the poorest homes, awakening and enlightening the do- 
mestic servants, the most backward workers, etc., etc. Let 
us campaign against the capitalists and the Cadets, disguised 
as "Radical Democrats", who hide behind the Cadets' 
backs. Let us campaign against the petty-bourgeois defenc- 
ist mire of the Narodniks and Mensheviks, against their 
bloc, which stands for no parties and no principles, against 
their attempts to sneak into their joint lists the Trudoviks, 
the advocates of compensation, and the heroes of Plekhanov's 
Yedinstvo with whom even such ministerial papers as Dyelo 
Naroda and Rabochaya Gazeta are ashamed to be seen in the 
same company! 



Pravda No. 64, June 6 
(May 24), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



512 



TWO SHORTCOMINGS 

In criticising other parties we should not forget to criti- 
cise ourselves. The published lists of candidates for members 
of the Petrograd District Councils have revealed two short- 
comings in our Party organisation and Party work. 

The first shortcoming is this. Our list for Liteiny District 
has only 33 candidates as against the 63 of the Cadets and 
the Menshevik bloc with Yedinstvo and the Narodniks. Appar- 
ently, our Party workers have not been able to find more 
than 33 candidates of the proletarian party in this wealthy 
district. But this is an obvious shortcoming in our work, an 
obvious indication that we have not gone down far enough into 
the midst of the working and exploited people. We must break 
with established custom. In the wealthy districts we must 
"go among the people" more energetically than ever, and 
waken more and more strata of the working and exploited 
people to political consciousness. We should get the non- 
party proletarian elements — especially the domestic serv- 
ants, for instance — to take an active part in the elections 
and not hesitate to put the most reliable of them into our 
proletarian list. Why should we fear a minority of non-party 
proletarian elements, when the majority are class-conscious 
internationalist proletarians?...* 

Written between May 23 and 27 
(June 5 and 9), 1917 
First published in 1928 Published according 

in Lenin Miscellany VII to the manuscript 



The manuscript breaks off here. — Ed. 



513 



RESOLUTION ON MEASURES 
TO COPE WITH ECONOMIC DISORGANISATION 123 

1. The complete disruption of Russia's economic life 
has now reached a point where catastrophe is unavoidable, a 
catastrophe of such appalling dimensions that a number of 
essential industries will be brought to a standstill, the farmer 
will be prevented from conducting farming on the necessary 
scale, and railway traffic will be interrupted with a conse- 
quent stoppage of grain deliveries to the industrial population 
and the cities, involving millions of people. What is more, 
the break-down has already started, and has affected various 
industries. Only by the greatest exertion of all the nation's 
forces and the adoption of a number of immediate revolution- 
ary measures, both in the local areas and at the centre of 
government, can this debacle be effectively coped with. 

2. Neither by bureaucratic methods, i.e., the setting 
up of institutions in which the capitalists and officials 
preponderate, nor by preserving the profits of the capital- 
ists, their supreme rule in industry, their supremacy over 
finance capital, and their commercial secrets as regards 
their banking, commercial, and industrial transactions, can 
the disaster be averted. This has been amply proved by the 
partial effects of the crisis as revealed in a number of indus- 
tries. 

3. The only way to avert disaster is to establish effectual 
workers' control over the production and distribution of 
goods. For the purpose of such control it is necessary, first 
of all, that the workers should have a majority of not less 
than three-fourths of all the votes in all the decisive insti- 
tutions and that the owners who have not withdrawn from 
their business and the engineering staffs should be enlisted 



514 



V. I. LENIN 



without fail; secondly, that shop committees, the central 
and local Soviets, as well as the trade unions, should have 
the right to participate in this control, that all commercial 
and bank books be open to their inspection, and that the 
management supply them with all the necessary informa- 
tion; third, that a similar right should be granted to repre- 
sentatives of all the major democratic and socialist parties. 

4. Workers' control, which the capitalists in a number 
of conflict cases have already accepted, should, by means 
of various well-considered measures introduced gradually 
but without any delay, be developed into full regulation of 
the production and distribution of goods by the workers. 

5. Workers' control should similarly be extended to all 
financial and banking operations with the aim of discovering 
the true financial state of affairs; such control to be partici- 
pated in by councils and conventions of bank, syndicate and 
other employees, which are to be organised forthwith. 

6. To save the country from disaster the workers and 
peasants must first of all be inspired with absolute and posi- 
tive assurance, conveyed by deeds and not by words, that the 
governing bodies both in the local areas and at the centre 
will not hesitate to hand over to the people the bulk of the 
profits, incomes, and property of the great banking, finan- 
cial, commercial, and industrial magnates of capitalist 
economy. Unless this measure is carried out, it is futile to 
demand or expect real revolutionary measures or any real 
revolutionary effort on the part of the workers and peasants. 

7. In view of the break-down of the whole financial and 
monetary system and the impossibility of rehabilitating 
it while the war is on, the aim of the state organisation should 
be to organise on a broad, regional, and subsequently 
country-wide, scale the exchange of agricultural implements, 
clothes, boots and other goods for grain and other farm 
products. The services of the town and rural co-operative 
societies should be widely enlisted. 

8. Only when these measures have been carried out will 
it be possible and necessary to introduce general and compul- 
sory labour service. This measure, in turn, calls for the 
establishment of a workers' militia, in which the workers are 
to serve without pay after their regular eight-hour day; this 
to be followed by the introduction of a nation-wide people's 



RESOLUTION ON ECONOMIC DISORGANISATION 



515 



militia in which the workers and other employees shall be 
paid by the capitalists. Only such a workers' militia and the 
people's militia that will grow out of it could and should 
introduce universal compulsory labour service, not by bureau- 
cratic means and in the interests of the capitalists, but to 
save the country from the impending debacle. Only such a 
militia could and should introduce real revolutionary dis- 
cipline and get the whole people to make that supreme effort 
necessary for averting disaster. Only universal compulsory 
labour service is capable of ensuring the maximum economy 
in the expenditure of labour-power. 

9. Among the measures aimed at saving the country from 
disaster, one of the most important tasks is that of engaging a 
large labour force in the production of coal and raw materi- 
als, and for work in the transport services. No less important 
is it that the workers employed in producing ammunition 
should be gradually switched over to producing goods neces- 
sary for the country's economic rehabilitation. 

10. The systematic and effective implementation of all 
these measures is possible only if all the power in the state 
passes to the proletarians and semi-proletarians. 



Sotsial-Demokrat No. 64, 
May 25 (June 7), 1917 



Published according 
to the manuscript 



516 



A DEAL WITH THE CAPITALISTS 
OR OVERTHROW OF THE CAPITALISTS? 

HOW TO END THE WAR 

Everyone is thinking and talking about how to end the 
war. 

Practically all the workers and peasants are agreed that 
the war was started by the capitalists and that it is the capi- 
talists of all countries who need it. And that is what the 
resolutions of the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and 
Peasants' Deputies say. 

This is the undoubted truth. 

Opinion differs when we come to the question of what 
way to end the war {everyone realises that it cannot be ended 
abruptly). Are we to go about it by way of a deal with the 
capitalists, and if so, what kind of deal? Or are we to go by 
way of a workers' revolution, i.e., by overthrowing the 
capitalists? That is the basic, cardinal issue. 

On this question our Party disagrees with the Petrograd 
Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and with the All- 
Russia Soviet of Peasants' Deputies, both of which incline 
towards deciding this question in favour of the capitalists 
and through the capitalists. 

This has been strikingly confirmed by the resolution on 
the war adopted by the All-Russia Soviet of Peasants' Dep- 
uties. In keeping with the notorious — and no less muddled — 
appeal to the nations of the world (dated March 14), this 
resolution demands: 

"peace without annexations and indemnities, with the right of 
every nation, in whatever state boundaries it may be living, to decide 
its own destiny." 



A DEAL WITH THE CAPITALISTS 



517 



The question of annexations is formulated differently 
here compared with the way it was recently put in Izvestia 
of the Petrograd Soviet and in Dyelo Naroda (see Pravda 
No. 60 for May 18*). 

The two latter newspapers, controlled by the Narodnik 
Menshevik bloc, are in a hopeless muddle when they declare 
that peace "without annexations" means returning to the 
state of things that existed before the war (the Latin phrase 
used for this is status quo ante helium). 

Such a solution of the problem — let us not blink the 
truth — means making a deal with the capitalists and between 
the capitalists. It means: Let us keep the old annexations 
(made before the war), but let us have no new ones. 

For one thing, no socialist who does not wish to betray 
socialism can accept such a solution. It is not a socialist's 
job to make peace between the capitalists on the basis of 
the old division of spoils, that is, annexations. That is 
obvious. Secondly, such a solution, in any event, is impracti- 
cable unless there is a revolution against capital, at least 
against Anglo-Japanese capital, since no man in his right 
senses can doubt that without a revolution Japan will never 
give up Kiaochow, nor Britain Baghdad and her African 
colonies. 

The peasant resolution gives a different definition to annex- 
ations. It proclaims the right of every nation (meaning also 
those annexed before the war) to be free and "to decide 
its own destiny". 

This is the only correct solution of the problem as far as 
any really consistent democrat, not to mention a socialist, is 
concerned. No true socialist can put the question of annexa- 
tions in any other way or deny any nation the right to self- 
determination and secession. 

Let us not deceive ourselves, however. Such a demand 
implies a revolution against the capitalists. And the first 
to turn down such a demand (unless there is a revolution) 
will be the British capitalists, who have more annexed 
territories than any other nation in the world. 

Neither of these demands, these wishes, either that of 
renouncing annexations in the sense of restoring status quo, 



See pp. 433-35 of this volume.— Ed. 



518 



V. I. LENIN 



or renouncing all annexations, both old and new, are real- 
isable without a revolution against capital, without the over- 
throw of the capitalists. We must not deceive ourselves 
or the people on this score. 

Either we advocate and look forward to a deal with the 
capitalists— and that would amount to inspiring the people 
with faith in their worst enemies — or we place our faith 
solely in the workers' revolution and concentrate all our 
efforts on overthrowing the capitalists. 

We must make our choice between these two ways of end- 
ing the war. 



Pravda No. 65, 
June 7 (May 25), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



519 



THE CHAIN IS NO STRONGER 
THAN ITS WEAKEST LINK 

If an iron chain is needed to hold a weight, say, of 100 
poods, what would happen if we replaced one of its links 
by a wooden one? 

The chain would break. 

No matter how strong and intact all the other links 
are, if the wooden link breaks the whole chain will burst. 
The same is true in politics. 

The Mensheviks and Narodniks, the ministerialist gentle- 
men of these petty-bourgeois parties, have joined forces 
with Plekhanov's "Yedinstvo" in the elections to the District 
Councils. 

You have only yourselves to blame, gentlemen! 

Your "iron" chain was poor and rusty enough as it is, and 
now it has several links made not even of wood, but of clay 
and paper. 

You have only yourselves to blame! 

Comrades, working men and working women, soldiers, 
toilers, do you realise that by voting for the Narodnik-Men- 
shevik bloc you will be voting for Plekhanov 's "Yedinstvo"? 

You will be voting for that disgraceful Yedinstvo of Ple- 
khanov's which even the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolu- 
tionary newspapers turn away from. 

You will be voting for that disgraceful Yedinstvo of Ple- 
khanov's which, to the capitalists' delight, frankly advocates 
war to a victorious finish. 

You will be voting for that disgraceful Yedinstvo of Ple- 
khanov's which daily whitewashes the Russian capitalists 
by throwing all the blame on the German capitalists and 
tramples on the fraternal alliance of the workers of all 



520 



V. I. LENIN 



countries in their struggle against the capitalists of all 
countries. 

If you stand for the working people against the capital- 
ists, if you wish to fight for bread, peace and liberty — then 
do not give a single vote to the bloc of the Narodniks and Men- 
sheviks, who are trying to hide the rotten "Yedinstvo" in 
their listsl 

Vote only for the Bolshevik and internationalist Social- 
Democrats! 



Pravda No. 67, 
June 9 (May 27), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



521 



THE CAPITALISTS MUST BE EXPOSED 

V. Bazarov, admittedly an authority on the condition 
of our industries, wrote in Novaya Zhizn for May 24: 

"The war and the resulting economic and financial break-down have 
created a state of affairs in which the private interest of private enter- 
prise tends not towards strengthening and developing the productive 
forces of the country, but towards destroying them. It is much more 
profitable at the present moment — in expectation of higher prices — 
to keep all the material elements of capital inactive than to put them 
into circulation; it is more profitable to produce, on terms ruinous to 
the country, absolutely useless military supplies than to serve con- 
scientiously the pressing needs of the people, and it is most profitable 
of all to build new munition factories which will never be utilised, 
and which would not be in a position to start work until two or three 
years hence. Is it any wonder that our so-called 'national economy' has 
degenerated into an orgy of wanton pillage, into industrial anarchy, 
into a systematic spoliation of the national wealth?... Why should 
an ignorant, and, for that matter, even a fully class-conscious worker, 
forego an 'excessive' increase in wages amounting to three or four ru- 
bles, when he sees hundreds of millions of rubles looted and squandered 
before his very eyes?" 

No honest person can deny that V. Bazarov is speaking 
the exact truth. 

An "orgy of pillage" — no other words can describe the be- 
haviour of the capitalists during the war. 

This orgy is leading to national disaster. 

We cannot keep silent. We cannot put up with it. 

Every worker who knows and understands what is going 
on at "his" factory, every office employee working in a bank, 
factory or commercial house, who cannot remain indifferent 
to his country's ruin, every engineer, statistician, account- 
ant — all should do everything in their power to collect 
accurate, even fragmentary, and, if possible, documented 



522 



V. I. LENIN 



data concerning this orgy of pillage, i.e., concerning prices 
and profits. 

We must not keep silent. We must not put up with it. 
After all, we are not children to let ourselves be lulled 
by promises made by near-socialist ministers or by commis- 
sions, departments, or sub-departments of government 
officials. 

If the Russian Government were not a captive of the 
capitalists, if it were made up of people who could and 
would act decisively, act to save their country from ruin, 
it would immediately, without a day's, without an hour's 
delay, issue a decree ordering the publication of all prices 
charged on war contracts, of all data pertaining to profits. 

To chatter about the impending debacle and about saving 
the country from ruin without doing this, means descending 
to the level of deceivers of the people, or of playthings in 
the hands of tricksters. 

To expect a government of capitalists, of Lvov, Tere- 
shchenko, Shingaryov and Co., and their impotent, toylike 
"appendage" in the persons of Chernov. Tsereteli, Peshekho- 
nov and Skobelev, to issue such a decree, and thus expose 
the capitalists, would be childish and naive. Only those suf- 
fering from "ministerialist softening of the brain" are likely 
to expect that. 

All the more energetically therefore must we encourage 
private initiative. Comrades and citizens! All those who 
really wish to save the country from famine must immedi- 
ately collect and publish all accessible data pertaining to 
prices and profits. 

Exposing the capitalists is the first step towards curbing the 
capitalists. 

Exposing the orgy of pillage is the first step in our fight 
against the pillagers. 



Pravda No. 67, 
June 9 (May 27), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



523 



REPORTS ON THE ECONOMIC DEBACLE 

The basic and cardinal issue of today is that of the impend- 
ing catastrophe. We must collect the most accurate possible 
data on It. Here are some very informative quotations 
from the paper of our opponents, the united Narodniks and 
Mensheviks (Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet No. 70, 
May 19): 

"The calamity of mass unemployment is drawing nearer. Resist- 
ance to the workers' demands on the part of the united employers is 
growing. The employers are resorting to slow-down tactics in produc- 
tion and to lockouts." 

And further: 

"The capitalists are doing nothing to help the country out of 
economic difficulties.... 

"The real disorganisers and counter-revolutionaries are the capital- 
iats, who are hanging on to their profits. But the revolution will 
not and should not be allowed to go under. If the capitalists do 
nothing to help it voluntarily, the revolution must lay hands on 
them." 

This could hardly be expressed more eloquently. The sit- 
uation must be critical indeed. "The revolution must lay 
hands on the capitalists." But what revolution? The 
revolution of which class? How should it lay hands on 
them? 

Here are answers given by speakers who reported to the 
Executive Committee of the Soviet on May 16: 

"A number of speakers revealed a depressing picture of widespread 
economic disorganisation in the country ... the bourgeois press says 
nothing about the real causes of the trouble, i.e., the war and the 
selfish conduct of the bourgeoisie." 



524 



V. I. LENIN 



From the report of the Menshevik ministerialist Chereva- 
nin: 

"The present economic debacle is too grave to be cured by one or 
another palliative, by a number of separate concrete measures. What 
we need is a general plan, regulation of our whole economic life by the 
state.... 

"To carry out this plan a special Economic Council must be set up 
under the Ministry." 

The mountain has brought forth a mouse. Instead of 
"the revolution laying hands on the capitalists" we are of- 
fered a purely bureaucratic remedy. 

From the report of Avilov: 

"The main cause of the present economic break-down is the short- 
age of the most essential industrial products.... 

"Owing to the rising cost of living the position of the workers of 
numerous grades verges on chronic starvation.... 

"Although they are making enormous profits, the employers re- 
fuse to meet the workers unless there is a simultaneous rise in the 
prices of their goods.... 

"The only way out of the present situation is price fixing. But this 
can only be carried out if there is public control of distribution. 

"Given compulsory distribution of commodities at controlled 
prices, there must also be established control of production, which 
otherwise may sag or even be suspended.... 

"At the same time the state must institute control over the sources 
from which industry receives its circulating and fixed assets — the 
banking houses." 

What Comrade Avilov seems to have forgotten is that the 
"state" is a machine which the working class and the capi- 
talists are pulling different ways. Which class is now capable 
of wielding state power? 

From Bazarov's report: 

"Fixed prices are virtually evaded; the state monopolies exist 
only on paper; controlled supply of the factories with coal and 
metal has not only failed to organise production in the interests of 
the state, but has not even been able to cope with the market anarchy 
or eliminate the unrestrained speculation of the middlemen and 
dealers. 

"What is needed is compulsory state trustification of industry. 

"Only by drafting the managements of the various enterprises and 
the capitalists into compulsory state service can really effective meas- 
ures be taken to combat the anarchy which the industrialists are delib- 
erately creating in production." 



REPORTS ON THE ECONOMIC DEBACLE 



525 



To say that the government of the capitalists (who are 
deliberately creating anarchy) must draft the capitalists into 
compulsory state service is tantamount to forgetting the 
class struggle. 

From the report by G. V. Shuba: 

"Despite the ceaseless demands we have been making for the last 
two months, not an inch of progress has been made in the general ques- 
tion — the problem of organising the national economy and labour. 
The result is that we have been simply marking time. At present the 
situation is this: although we have succeeded, in the face of opposi- 
tion, in getting a number of measures and laws passed — we already 
have a grain monopoly law — all this remains on paper.... 

"We have reached an agreement in principle on the municipalisa- 
tion of agricultural machines, but we can do nothing about it because 
there are practically no machines to speak of. The factories built to 
produce agricultural machines are turning out absolutely unessential 
articles for the army. Apart from the fact that the whole economic 
life of the country must be subject to regulation, we must at last break 
up and remodel the whole executive machinery of government." 

This is more to the point, closer to the heart of the matter! 
"Break up and remodel the whole executive machinery 
of government" — now that gets us down to bedrock. Obvi- 
ously, the question of government machinery is only a frac- 
tion of the larger question as to which class is wielding the 
state power. 

From Kukovetsky's report: 

"The country's financial situation is appalling. We are heading 
rapidly for financial bankruptcy.... 

"Purely financial measures will do no good.... 

"Measures must be taken towards compulsory distribution of the 
government loan, and if this does not yield the desired results, we must 
introduce a compulsory loan. 

"The second measure is the compulsory regulation of industry and 
the establishment of fixed prices on goods." 

"Compulsory" measures are a good thing, but the question 
is — which class will be the compellers and which the com- 
pelled? 

From the report of Groman: 

"What is happening in all countries today may be described as a 
process of disintegration of the national economic organism. It is being 
countered everywhere by the organising principle. The state has every- 
where begun to organise the economy and labour.... 



526 



V. I. LENIN 



"So far neither the government nor the country at large has a cen- 
tral organ which could regulate the country's economic life. There is 

no economic brain, as it were. It must be created An authoritative 

executive body must be organised. An Economic Council must be set 
up. 

A new bureaucratic institution — that is what Groman's 
idea amounts to! Very sad. 

They all admit that an unheard-of catastrophe is inevita- 
ble. But they do not understand the main thing — that only 
the revolutionary class can save the country. 



Pravda No. 67, 
June 9 (May 27), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



527 



"SLEIGHT OF HAND" 
AND UNPRINCIPLED POLITICIANS 

The expression "sleight of hand" has been taken from 
the editorial in today's Dyelo Naroda. This newspaper of 
the "Socialist-Revolutionaries", to which Kerensky and 
Chernov are contributors, exposes the tricks of the French 
spokesmen of "tamed socialism", saying: 

"These are old tricks, a very old sleight of hand, which in our country 
have been repeatedly and unsuccessfully practised by Mr, Plekhanov 
without deceiving anybody...." 

Are you sure they were practised only by Plekhanov, my 
dear sirs? 

Are you not going to the elections in a bloc with this 
very Plekhanov's Yedinstvol Are you not helping it to get 
in, are you not saving it? 

It was in your paper (No. 44 for May 9) that S. Mstislavsky 
wrote of Plekhanov: 

"When a recent leader of Russian Social-Democracy lends his hand 
to such counter-revolutionary attacks [as those of Russkaya Volya 
and Novoye Vremya], then it is with profound regret and sincere sorrow 
that we are compelled to recognise this fact, since we never really im- 
agined that the degeneration of the International had gone so far." 

We would add: and the degeneration of the Socialist-Revo- 
lutionaries who have joined forces with this very "Yedinstvo" . 

And in an unsigned, i.e., editorial, note in Dyelo Naroda 
No. 48, for May 13, we read: 

"'Yedinstvo's' political unity with the liberal bourgeoisie is common 
knowledge. " 

Mark that carefully! The "Socialist-Revolutionaries" 
and the Mensheviks are in unity with that very Yedinstvo 



528 



V. I. LENIN 



whose political unity with the liberal bourgeoisie is common 
knowledge. Do not forget this, comrades, men and women 
workers, and soldiers! 

The Menshevik Rabochaya Gazeta for April 20 (No. 35) 
wrote in an editorial: 

"We are against the British imperialists. Yedinstvo is against the 
British socialists. Herein lies the whole difference. Herein lies the rea- 
son why Yedinstvo has to argue a la Hottentot The Russian workers 

remember only too well how Plekhanov, during the tsarist regime 
[there is a misprint in the text: it should read "during the tsarist- 
republican regime"], tried in all manner of ways to dissuade them from 
going on strike. Then, too, Plekhanov tried to scare us with things even 
more terrible; he tried to assure us that such conflicts only played into 
the hands of the German General Staff." 

And in the issue of the same paper for May 16 (No. 57) 
the discreetly moderate ministerialist Cherevanin wrote: 

"Plekhanov and his Yedinstvo are doing everything they possibly 
can here to compromise the principle of defencism, which has been 
compromised enough on an international scale thanks to the efforts 
of the majority of the German, French and other socialists." 

This is how Yedinstvo is estimated by the Narodniks and 
the Mensheviks, this is how they try to dissociate themselves 
from it, this is how ashamed they are of it\ 

Nevertheless they have entered into a bloc with it at the 
elections, and Plekhanov accepts seats from people who pub- 
licly call him names, such as "juggler", "tamed socialist", 
"Hottentot", "compromised", "in unity with the liberal 
bourgeoisie". 

Which member of that bloc is the worst? 

Workers and soldiers! Not one vote to the bloc of the Na- 
rodniks and Mensheviks, who are shielding and working for 
Yedinstvo, which is "ire unity with the liberal bourgeoisie" \ 

Written May 25 (June 7), 1917 

Published June 9 (May 27), 1917 
in Pravda No. 67 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



529 



THE DARK FORCES ARE FOR THE CADETS, 
THE MENSHEVIKS AND NARODNIKS ARE 
IN ONE GOVERNMENT WITH THE CADETS 

Who does not know the newspaper Novoye Vremya? Who 
does not know that in the course of many a decade this 
paper has "earned" for itself the name of defender of the tsar- 
ist regime, defender of the capitalists, Jew baiter and hound- 
er of revolutionaries? 

Who does not know that all that was honest in Russia 
always turned away from Novoye Vremya with indignation and 
contempt? That this paper, even now, after the revolution, 
has not changed its ways by one iota? 

And now we have the first elections in a free Russia. On 
the first day of the elections Novoye Vremya comes out with 
the call: "Put forward the list of the people's freedom party". 

The fact speaks for itself: all the landowners and capital- 
ists, all the dark forces, all those who are trying to restore 
the tsar, are for the Cadets. 

And the Mensheviks and Narodniks have given six minis- 
ters as hostages to the Cadets' ten. 

The Mensheviks and Narodniks have allowed themselves 
to be taken in by empty promises, not one of which has been 
kept. Not a single step has been taken by the government 
to stop the war, to abandon annexations* and to curb the 
capitalists, who are making outrageous profits and heading 
the country for destruction. 

The war is dragging on, a debacle is imminent, the cap- 
italists are making fortunes, the Mensheviks and Narodniks 



* To publish the secret treaties, to make an open, honest, frank 
offer of peace to all the nations on clearly defined terms. 



530 



V. I. LENIN 



are talking and threatening, threatening and talking 

But all this falls on deaf ears — Vaska the Cat (the capitalist) 
listens but goes on eating.* 

Workers and soldiers, all tolling people! Not a single vote to 
the Cadets, not a single vote to the Mensheviks and Narod- 
niks! 

Vote for the Bolsheviks! 



Pravda No. 68, Published according 

June 10 (May 28), 1917 to the text in Pravda 



See Note No. 28. —Ed. 



531 



THE SHAMEFUL MENSHEVIK-NARODNIK BLOC 
WITH YEDINSTVO 

Today is the second and principal day of the elections. 
The most importunate in offering themselves to the elector- 
ate, besides the Cadets, are the united Mensheviks and Narod- 
niks. 

What answer did they have to our accusation concerning 
their shameful bloc with Yedinstvo? Are they prepared to 
defend this bloc on grounds of principle! 

They are not. 

In reply to our suggestion that the bloc with Yedinstvo 
was a disgrace, Rabochaya Gazeta quotes the example of — 
whom would you think? — of the agent provocateur Malinov- 
sky and of his being smuggled into the Duma by the secret 
police! 

The dishonesty of such a "method" of controversy is 
dealt with elsewhere in a separate paragraph.* Here we are 
concerned with "Rabochaya Gazeta V logic rather than its 
dishonesty. Look what you do, gentlemen! You parry our 
reference to "your" Yedinstvo by a counter-reference to "our" 
agent provocateur Malinovsky! What is the inference? 
The inference is that you consider Yedinstvo on a par with an 
agent provocateur! 

That is how the wise heads of Rabochaya Gazeta "defend" 
the bloc with Yedinstvo. Very clever of them, to be sure. 
When told that they have in free Russia such a disgraceful 
colleague as Plekhanov's Yedinstvo, they answer: And the 
Bolsheviks, in tsarist Russia, had the agent provocateur 
Malinovsky! Isn't this a gem of a defence? 



See p. 539 of this volume. — Ed. 



532 



V. I. LENIN 



Dyelo Naroda, too, has put its foot into it in regard to 
Yedinstvo. On May 27, the first day of the elections, this paper 
of Kerensky, Chernov and Co. carried a front-page appeal 
to vote for the lists in which "Yedinstvo" is smuggled in. 

And on the second page of the same issue of Dyelo Naroda 
we read a lengthy denunciation of the "social-patriot" Ple- 
khanov and his Yedinstvo, containing, among others, the 
following "vitriolic remark": 

"We will gladly inform our readers what other liberal- and social- 
imperialists — 'Rech\ 'Russkaya Volya and 'Yedinstvo' — think about 
the Italian annexation [of Albania]." 

A gem, is it not? 

The "Socialist-Revolutionaries" call on the people to vote 
for lists in which the candidates of Yedinstvo are concealed, 
the very same "Yedinstvo" which the Socialist-Revolution- 
aries themselves, and on election day at that, call "social- 
imperialist", i.e., socialist in word and "imperialist in 
deed", the very same Yedinstvo which they identify with 
Rech and Russkaya Volya. 

The wise Rabochaya Gazeta, in a bloc with the wise Dyelo 
Naroda, has certainly "defended" Yedinstvo today. 

And Plekhanov accepts alms from people who "acciden- 
tally" compare him with Malinovsky, or, on election day, 
openly declare him to be a "social-imperialist". 

Such is the exhibition which this disgraceful bloc of 
the Mensheviks plus Narodniks plus Yedinstvo is making of 
itself. 

Workers and soldiers! All toiling people! Not a single 
vote to the Narodniks and Mensheviks, who are trying to 
drag in the "social-imperialists"! 

Vote for the Bolsheviks! 



Pravda No. 68, 
June 10 (May 28), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



533 



COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKES THE OFFENSIVE 

"JACOBINS WITHOUT THE PEOPLE" 

The counter-revolution has mustered strength enough 
to assume the offensive. With the aid of the Narodnik and 
Menshevik ministers the capitalists are organising an assault 
on liberty. 

The decision to disband the "45th, 46th, 47th and 52nd 
regiments" of the 12th and 13th divisions, the decision to 
"prosecute" the "instigators" (what an odd word! Are "insti- 
gators" more important than "perpetrators" in war?), and 
side by side with this, the news of the arrest of Ensign Kruss- 
er for a speech made at a meeting in Skuliany, and finally, 
the Provisional Government's extremely insulting tone in 
regard to Kronstadt 124 (for example, that orders "must be 
obeyed without question" — is that the way to talk to citi- 
zens who, so far, have not been accused of anything, not of 
a single act of disobedience?) — all this, taken together, and 
highlighted by that gloating defender of the counter-revolu- 
tionary capitalists, Rech ("the government at last has spoken 
up in the language of authority") — all this clearly points to 
the fact that the counter-revolution is taking the offensive. 

This "offensive" creates a strange impression. At the front 
the instigators, those guilty of "inciting to insubordination", 
are arraigned before the court, and four regiments are 
"disbanded" (four out of the two divisions' eight regiments 
mentioned in the telegram, although, according to the same 
telegram reported in Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet No. 76, 
only one regiment out of the eight "came out in full force" 
and another one "almost in full force"). If you gentlemen of 
the government inform the people that you are disbanding 
certain regiments, if you find this useful, if you allow a 



534 



V. I. LENIN 



telegram about it to go through, then why don't you tell us, 
clearly and plainly, in at least a few lines, what the reasons 
for insubordination were on the part of those you are prose- 
cuting? 

One of two things, gentlemen: either you work in silence — 
you have a military censorship — and do not bother about 
informing the public, or bothering it with your reports; 
or, if you do decide to keep the public informed, then tell 
it what it's all about, give it the why and the wherefore 
of the case, let it know whether the people you are prosecuting 
are guilty of insubordination on a particular or general 
point. 

Vagueness is a bad thing. 

In the case of Krusser's arrest, everything is quite clear. 
To hustle a man off to prison for a speech he has made at a 
meeting is hardly reasonable. Does it not signify that you 
have simply lost your heads? Why, you Cadets and Rights 
who share the cabinet with the Narodniks and Mensheviks 
have ten if not a hundred times more newspaper circulation 
than your opponents! And with such superiority in chief 
propaganda weapons, you hustle a man off to prison for 
"a speech at a meeting"! Have you gone berserk with fear, 
gentlemen? 

We are not opposed to the use of revolutionary force in the 
interests of the nation's majority. 

When Plekhanov the other day mentioned the Jacobins 
of 1793 and their forthright statement that "such-and-such 
persons are enemies of the people", we thought in this con- 
nection: No party should draw the line at imitating the 
Jacobins of 1793 on this point cited by Plekhanov. 

The trouble is that there are Jacobins and Jacobins. 
A witty French saying, which Plekhanov was fond of quot- 
ing twenty years ago, when he was still a socialist, pokes 
fun at the "Jacobins without the people" {jacobins moins le 
peuple). 

The historical greatness of the true Jacobins, the Jacobins 
of 1793, is that they were "Jacobins with the people", with 
the revolutionary majority of the nation, with the revolution- 
ary advanced classes of their time. 

They are ridiculous and pitiful, the "Jacobins without the 
people", they who merely pose as Jacobins, who are afraid 



COUNTER-REVOLUTION TAKES THE OFFENSIVE 



535 



to declare clearly, openly and for all to hear that the exploit- 
ers, the oppressors of the people, the servants of the monarchy 
in all countries, the defenders of the landowners in all 
countries, are enemies of the people. 

You have studied history, Messrs. Milyukovs and Ple- 
khanovs — can you deny that the great Jacobins of 1793 were 
not afraid to denounce precisely the members of the 
reactionary exploiting minority of their time as enemies of 
the people? Precisely the members of the reactionary classes 
of their time? 

You, the present government, its backers, its defenders, 
its servants — can you say openly, clearly, and officially 
which classes you consider "enemies of the people" all over 
the world? 

But how can you! You are Jacobins without the people. 
You are merely posing as Jacobins. You look more like 
ordinary representatives of ordinary landowner and capi- 
talist reaction. 



Workers and soldiers! All toiling people! The counter- 
revolution of the landowners and capitalists is assuming the 
offensive. Not a single vote for a single government party, 
for any parties participating in the government] 

Vote for the Bolsheviks! 



Pravda No. 68, 
June 10 (May 28), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



536 



A QUESTION OF PRINCIPLE 

"FORGOTTEN WORDS" OF DEMOCRACY 

The filthy torrent of lies and slander which the capitalist 
papers have spewed out against the Kronstadt comrades has 
revealed once more how dishonest these papers are. They 
have seized on a quite ordinary and unimportant incident 
and magnified it to the dimensions of a "state" affair, of "se- 
cession" from Russia and so on and so forth. 

Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet No. 74 reports that the 
Kronstadt incident has been settled. As was to have been 
expected, Ministers Tsereteli and Skobelev easily came 
to an understanding with the Kronstadt people on the basis 
of a compromise resolution. Needless to say, we express 
our hope and confidence that this compromise resolution, 
provided both sides faithfully live up to it, will, for a suf- 
ficiently lengthy period of time, eliminate conflicts in the 
work of the revolution both in Kronstadt and the rest of 
Russia. 

The Kronstadt incident is a matter of principle to us in 
two respects. 

First, it has revealed a fact long ago observed by us and 
officially recognised in our Party's resolution (on the So- 
viets), namely, that in the local areas the revolution has gone 
farther than it has in Petrograd. Succumbing to the current 
craze for the revolutionary phrase, the Narodniks and Men- 
sheviks as well as the Cadets did not wish to or could not 
grasp the significance of this fact. 

Secondly, the Kronstadt incident raised an important 
fundamental issue of programmatic significance, which no 
honest democrat, to say nothing of a socialist, can afford 
to treat with indifference. It is the question of whether 



A QUESTION OF PRINCIPLE 



537 



the central authority has the right to endorse officials 
elected by the local population or not. 

The Mensheviks, to whose party Ministers Tsereteli and 
Skobelev belong, still claim to be Marxists. Tsereteli and 
Skobelev got a resolution passed in favour of such endorse- 
ment. In doing so, did they stop to think of their duty as 
Marxists? 

Should the reader find this question na'ive and pass a re- 
mark to the effect that the Mensheviks now have really 
become a petty-bourgeois, even defencist (i.e., chauvinist) 
party, and therefore it would be ludicrous even to talk about 
Marxism, we shall not argue the point. All we shall say is 
that Marxism always gives close attention to questions of 
democratism, and the name of democrats can hardly be 
denied to citizens Tsereteli and Skobelev. 

Did they stop to think of their duty as democrats, of their 
"title" as democrats, when they passed the resolution author- 
ising the Provisional Government to "endorse" officials 
elected by the Kronstadt population? 

Obviously, they did not. 

In support of this conclusion, we shall quote the opinion 
of a writer who, we hope, even in the eyes of Tsereteli and 
Skobelev, is considered something of a scientific and Marxian 
authority. That writer is Frederick Engels. 

In criticising the draft programme of the German Social- 
Democrats (now known as the Erfurt Programme) Engels 
wrote in 1891 that the German proletariat was in need of a 
single and united republic. 

"But not," Engels added, "such a republic as the present 
French Republic, which is really an empire founded in 1798 
but without an emperor. From 1792 to 1798 every French de- 
partment, every commune enjoyed complete self-government 
after the American pattern. That is what we [the German 
Social-Democrats] should have too. How self-government can 
be organised and how a bureaucracy can be dispensed with 
has been demonstrated to us by America and the First French 
Republic, as well as by Australia, Canada and other British 
colonies even today. Such provincial and communal self- 
government is much freer than, for instance, Swiss federal- 
ism, where each canton is really independent of the confed- 
eration [i.e., the central government] but at the same time is 



538 



V. I. LENIN 



the supreme authority as far as the minor subdivisions of 
the canton are concerned — the Bezirk and the Commune. 
The cantonal governments appoint the Bezirkestatthalter and 
Prefects. This right of appointing local officers is entirely 
unknown in English-speaking countries, and in future we 
must politely abolish this right [i.e., appointment from 
above], just as we should the Prussian Landrathe and Re- 
gierungrathe." 125 

Such was Engels's opinion on questions of democracy 
as applied to the right of appointing officers from above. 
To express these views with greater precision and accuracy, 
he proposed that the German Social-Democrats should in- 
sert in their programme the following demand: 

"Complete self-government in the communes, districts, 
and regions through officers elected by universal suffrage; 
abolition of all state-appointed local and regional authorities." 

The italicised words leave nothing to be desired in the 
way of clarity and definiteness. 

Worthy citizens, Ministers Tsereteli and Skobelev! 
You are probably flattered to have your names mentioned in 
history books. But will it be flattering to have every Marx- 
ist — and every honest democrat — say that Ministers Tse- 
reteli and Skobelev helped the Russian capitalists to build 
such a republic in Russia as would turn out to be not a re- 
public at all, but a monarchy without a monarch! 

P.S. This article was written before the Kronstadt incident 
entered its last stage, as reported in today's papers. The 
Kronstadt people have not broken the compromise agreement. 
Not a single fact remotely suggesting a breach of this agree- 
ment has been cited. Rech's reference to newspaper articles 
is mere subterfuge, since you can only break an agreement 
by deeds and not by newspaper articles. The fact then re- 
mains, that Ministers Tsereteli, Skobelev and Co. have allowed 
themselves to be scared for the hundredth and thousandth 
time by the screams of the frightened bourgeoisie and have 
resorted to gross threats against the people of Kronstadt. 
Crude, absurd threats, that merely serve the counter-revo- 
lution. 

Written before May 25 
(June 7) 1917 

Published June 10 (May 28), 
1917 in Pravda No. 68 



Published according 
to the newspaper text 



539 



FOR LACK OF A CLEAN PRINCIPLED WEAPON 
THEY SNATCH AT A DIRTY ONE 

Rabochaya Gazeta, the organ of the Menshevik ministerial- 
ists, takes a dig at us by recalling the fact that the secret 
police arrested the Bolshevik conciliator Rykov in 1911 in 
order to give the Bolsheviks of our Party "freedom" of action 
"on the eve of the elections to the Fourth Duma" (Rabochaya 
Gazeta rubs this in). 

But what does this fact prove? It proves that the secret 
police were clearing the way to the Duma for Malinovsky, 
who turned out to be an agent provocateur. Naturally, 
the secret police looked after their undercover agents. 

Is our Party to be blamed for this? It is not, no more than 
any honest man would think of blaming Chernov and Co. 
for mistakenly vindicating Azef, or blaming Yonov and Co. 
(member of the Bund and colleague of Rabochaya Gazeta) 
for exonerating the agent provocateur Zhitomirsky ("Otsov") 
in 1910 in the name of the united Central Committee, or 
blaming those Mensheviks who, in 1904, tried for a time to 
defend the agent provocateur Dobroskokov, or blaming those 
Cadets who also had agent provocateurs in their midst, whose 
names have now been made public. 

All parties without exception have made mistakes in fail- 
ing to detect agent provocateurs. This is a fact. Rabochaya 
Gazeta, which has entered into a bloc with Minister Chernov, 
chooses to ignore his old mistakes and mentions only those of 
its present opponents. Such a method is clearly dishonest, 
clearly unscrupulous. The blow which Rabochaya Gazeta 
aimed at us has fallen upon itself, for it will never dare to 
admit to the world that it is honest to keep silent about Azef 
while shouting about a similar agent provocateur, Malinov- 
sky, for selfish factional motives. 



Pravda No. 68, 
June 10 (May 28), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



MEETING 
OF THE PETROGRAD COMMITTEE 
OF THE R.S.D.L.P. {Bolsheviks) 

MAY 30 {JUNE 12), 1917 



First published in 1925 
in the journal Krasnaya Letopis 
(Red Annals) No. 3 (14) 



Published according 
to the typewritten copy 
of the Minutes 



543 



1 

SPEECH CONCERNING AN ORGAN 
OF THE PRESS FOR THE PETROGRAD COMMITTEE 

The desire of the Petrograd Committee to have a press 
organ of its own is something new as far as the Central Com- 
mittee is concerned. It is difficult to understand how such a 
question could have arisen at a time when arrangements are 
being made for a printing-press of our own and an agreement 
is about to be reached with the Inter-District group for get- 
ting Comrade Trotsky to edit a popular organ. 

In the West, in the capitals or big industrial centres, there 
is no division of the press into local and central organs. Such 
a division is wasteful and harmful. It is not advisable to 
have a Petrograd Committee organ apart from the Central 
Organ. Petrograd, as a separate locality, does not exist. 
Petrograd is the geographical, political and revolutionary 
centre of all Russia. The life of Petrograd is being followed 
by the whole of Russia. Every step of Petrograd' s is a guide- 
line for the whole of Russia. In view of this the life of the 
Petrograd Committee cannot be treated as a local affair. 

Why not accept the Central Committee's suggestion that 
a Press Committee be formed? In the history of the press 
in the West, where such committees have existed, there have 
of course been occasional misunderstandings between the 
editorial board and the committee, but these were due en- 
tirely to disagreements on policy. What grounds are there 
for any disagreements on policy between the Petrograd Com- 
mittee and the Central Committee? Whether we want it or 
not the organ of the Petrograd Committee will always be the 
leading organ of the Party. 



544 



V. I. LENIN 



The experience gained in establishing an organ of its own 
would quickly convince the Petrograd Committee that it is 
impossible to confine the paper to local affairs. The Central 
Committee does not deny the need for giving more space to 
the Petrograd branch in the newspapers. The Central Commit- 
tee does not deny the need for a popular organ that would 
bring our slogans home to the masses. But the establishment 
of a popular newspaper is a difficult job that calls for consid- 
erable experience. That is why the Central Committee is 
enlisting the services of Comrade Trotsky, who has succeeded 
in establishing his own popular organ — Russkaya Gazeta. 126 

In the history of the West the question of a popular 
organ has never been so acute as it is with us. The level 
of the masses there rose more evenly as a result of the cul- 
tural and educational work done by the Liberals. In coun- 
tries like Bohemia there are such popular organs. The purpose 
of a popular organ is to elevate the reader to an understand- 
ing of the leading party organ. If we do not establish a 
popular organ other parties will win the masses and use them 
to speculate with. The popular organ should not be of a lo- 
cal type, but owing to postal difficulties it is bound primarily 
to serve the needs of Petrograd. In order that local needs 
be adequately served the Petrograd Committee should secure 
proper representation on the editorial board of the paper. 



MEETING OF PETROGRAD COMMITTEE, R.S.D.L.P.(B.) 545 



2 

DRAFT RESOLUTIONS INTRODUCED 
AT THE MEETING OF THE PETROGRAD COMMITTEE 

FIRST RESOLUTION 

The Central Committee is to issue two newspapers in 
Petrograd — the Central Organ and a popular paper with a 
single editorial board. The Petrograd Committee is to 
receive a consultative voice on the editorial board of the 
Central Organ, and a vote in the popular organ. The Central 
Committee is to devote a definite number of columns in both 
papers to items of local interest. 

SECOND RESOLUTION 

The Petrograd Committee resolves to co-operate in both 
papers published by the Central Committee on the condi- 
tions proposed by the latter, and to make every effort to serve 
the needs of local activities more fully and widely and to 
work out in greater detail the general line of the Party. 
Having reason to fear that the Central Committee or the 
editorial board appointed by it may place too much trust 
in the internationalist comrades who have disagreed with 
Bolshevism in the past, that the Central Committee may 
cramp the freedom and independence of action of the local 
comrades, that the Central Committee may not give them the 
influence they are entitled to as leaders of local activities, 
the Petrograd Committee is to elect a committee to formulate 
precise guarantees of the rights of the Petrograd Committee 
in the local department of both papers. 



546 



THE HARM OF PHRASE-MONGERING 

The answers of the French and the British governments 
clearly demonstrate the soundness of our repeated asser- 
tions that neither the Russian, nor the French, nor the Brit- 
ish, nor the German capitalist government can throw over 
the policy of annexations, and that all such promises are 
designed to deceive the peoples. 127 

We are fighting to seize Alsace-Lorraine, we are fighting 
for victory, the French replied. Be good enough to comply 
with the treaty and fight for Russian and German Poland, 
the British replied. 

The bitter truth that capitalism cannot be reconciled 
to a non-annexationist policy has been exposed once more. 
The policy of the "conciliators", of those who wish to recon- 
cile the capitalists and the proletariat, the policy of the Na- 
rodnik and Menshevik ministerialists, is an obvious failure. 
All their hopes on a coalition government have been shat- 
tered, all their promises have been exposed as mere verbiage. 

And most harmful of all, as far as the cause of the revolu- 
tion and the interests of the toiling masses are concerned, 
is the attempt to cover up the whole thing with phrases. 
Two shadings stand out in this torrent of phrases, one as 
bad as the other. 

Rabochaya Gazeta, the organ of the Menshevik ministeri- 
alists, brings grist to the Cadet mill. On the one hand, it 
says: "On this basis [on the basis of the answers of the two 
Allied powers] there can be no agreement between them and 
us...." When they say "us", do they mean the Russian capi- 
talists? The theory of the class struggle is thrown overboard; 
it is much more profitable to spout phrases about "democracy" 
in the abstract, while trampling underfoot the elementary 



THE HARM OF PHRASE-MONGERING 



547 



truth of Marxism, namely, that it is precisely within a 
"democracy" that the gulf between the capitalists and the 
proletarians is widest. 

On the other hand, Rabochaya Gazeta wishes to make "an 
attempt at revision [of the agreements and the treaties] 
through a conference of representatives of the Allied govern- 
ments to be specially convened". The same old story: agree- 
ment with the capitalists, which, in fact, signifies deception 
of the workers by playing at negotiations with their class 
foes. 

"The pressure of the rank and file of the French and 
British democracies, even pressure by the French and British 
proletariat alone upon their respective governments..." 
writes Rabochaya Gazeta. In Russia the Mensheviks are 
supporting their own imperialist government, but in other 

countries they want pressure to be brought to bear 

What is this, if not sheer phrase-mongering and humbug 
from beginning to end? 

"We are working for it [for world peace] by convening 
an international socialist conference" ... to be attended by 
ministers from among those ex-socialists who have sided 
with their governments! This is "working" with a vengeance 
to deceive the people on a major scale by means of a series 
of minor deceptions. 

We have Dyelo Naroda phrase-mongering "a la Jacobin". 
That stern tone, those spectacular revolutionary exclama- 
tions: "we know enough" ... "faith in the victory of our 
Revolution" (with a capital letter, of course), "upon this 
or that step ... of the Russian revolutionary democracy ... 
depend the destinies ... of the entire Uprising [with a 
capital letter, of course] which the working people have so 
happily and so victoriously begun." 

Obviously, if you write the words Revolution and Uprising 
with capital letters it makes the thing look "awfully" frighten- 
ing, just like the Jacobins. Plenty of effect at small expense. 
For the people who write this are virtually helping to crush 
the revolution and impede the uprising of the working people 
by supporting the Russian government of the imperialists, 
by supporting their methods of concealing from the people 
the secret treaties, their tactics of putting off the immediate 
abolition of the landed estates, by supporting their war 



548 



V. I. LENIN 



policy of "offensive", their high-handed insulting behaviour 
towards the local representative bodies, their presumption to 
appoint or endorse the local officers elected by the local 
population, and so on ad infinitum. 

Gentlemen, heroes of the phrase, knights of revolu- 
tionary bombast! Socialism demands that we distinguish, 
between capitalist democracy and proletarian democracy, 
between bourgeois revolution and proletarian revolution, 
between a rising of the rich against the tsar and a rising 
of the working people against the rich. Socialism demands 
that we distinguish our bourgeois revolution, which has 
ended (the bourgeoisie now is counter-revolutionary), from the 
mounting revolution of the proletarians and poor peasants. 
The former revolution is for war, for preserving the landed 
estates, for "subordinating" the local organs of self-govern- 
ment to the central government, for secret treaties. The lat- 
ter revolution has begun to throttle the war by revolutionary 
fraternisation, by abolishing the power of the landowners in 
the local areas, by increasing the number and the power of 
the Soviets, and by introducing everywhere the elective 
principle. 

The Narodnik and Menshevik ministerialists are spouting 
phrases about "democracy" in the abstract, about "Revolu- 
tion" in the abstract in order to cover up their agreement 
with the imperialist, now definitely counter-revolutionary, 
bourgeoisie of their own country — an agreement which, in 
effect, is turning into a struggle against the revolution of the 
proletarians and semi-proletarians. 



Pravda No. 69, 
June 13 (May 31), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



549 



CAPITALIST MOCKERY OF THE PEOPLE 

The meeting of representatives of the capitalists and 
workers of the southern mining industry ended on May 23. 

The meeting came to nothing. The capitalists found all 
the demands of the workers unacceptable. The workers' 
delegation attending the meeting read a statement disclaim- 
ing all responsibility for possible complications. 

The case is as clear as clear can be. The crisis has not been 
averted in the least. The employers have not been curbed. 

And now we read — it would be amusing, were it not so 
sad — that it has been decided to appoint a committee made 
up of representatives of the government and the two con- 
flicting parties (!) and that the employers have asked for an 
immediate increase in prices! 

To give the reader an idea to what lengths the capitalists 
go in defying the people, we quote a few passages from a 
ministerial newspaper (i.e., the mouthpiece of a party that 
has representatives in the cabinet): 

"The workers' delegation [from the southern mining industry] 
informed the Economic Department of the Executive Committee of 
the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies about the actual state of 
affairs. On the basis of this information, we can declare that the em- 
ployers' figures quoted by N. N. Kutler are absolutely untrustworthy. 

"The colliery owners had been making enormous profits before the 
revolution, and yet, just before its outbreak, they were haggling with 
the old government for a rise in the requisition prices on coal. In addi- 
tion to the three kopeks which the government was willing to grant, 
the colliery owners were asking five more kopeks. From the revolution- 
ary Provisional Government, on the other hand, they succeeded, dur- 
ing the very first days of the revolution, in obtaining a rise of eight 
kopeks, this new rate being extended to the old deliveries to the rail- 
ways, and to requisitions dating back to January. Afterwards they 
managed to get three kopeks more, making a total of eleven kopeks. 



550 



V. I. LENIN 



"Before the revolution the requisition price was eighteen kopeks; 
now it is twenty-nine. Government contracts at that time brought 
twenty two kopeks per pood, while now the prices are thirty-three and 
thirty-four and even more." 

What is this if not the most outrageous mockery of the 
people on the part of the capitalists? 

Taking advantage of the revolution, the capitalist govern- 
ment, styling itself a "revolutionary" government and using 
this "noble" name to hoodwink the ignorant people, is putting 
more and more money into the pockets of the capitalists, 
helping them to amass more and more millions! 

The country is on the verge of ruin, and the ten capitalist 
members of the Provisional Government are accommodating 
the employers who are looting the land, robbing the people, 
and swelling the colossal profits of capital. 

"The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is under the beck and call 
of the congress of the South Russian mine owners. Faced by the catas- 
trophe towards which industry in the South is heading, it does nothing 
to avert it; on the contrary, it systematically submits to the pressure 
of the southern industrialists." 

Thus wrote the very same ministerial paper, the organ of 
the Mensheviks, Rabochaya Gazeta, on May 14, 1917, a week 
after the coalition cabinet was formed. 

Since then absolutely nothing has changed. 

But the ministerial paper has been forced to admit even 
more damaging facts. Listen to this: 

"The owners are sabotaging. They are deliberately letting things 
slide. If a pump is needed, no one looks for it. If wire gauze is needed 
for the miners' safety lamps, it is not supplied. The owners do not 
want to increase production. Nor do they want to spend any money on 
essential repairs, or on replacing worn-out equipment. The machines 
are getting old, and will soon be out of commission. Frequently the 
workers themselves, when told that this or that article cannot be ob- 
tained, go out to buy the necessary tools, and they generally find what 
they need. The employers do nothing to ship their products, such as 
coal, cast-iron, etc. Products to the value of tens and hundreds of mil- 
lions of rubles lie idle, while the country is in dire need of them." 

Thus wrote the ministerial paper, mouthpiece of that 
same Menshevik party to which Tsereteli and Skobelev be- 
long. 

This is sheer mockery of the people on the part of the 
capitalists. It's like a madhouse, with the capitalists acting 



CAPITALIST MOCKERY OF THE PEOPLE 



551 



in collusion with the bourgeois section of the Provisional 
Government (among the members of which are Mensheviks 
and Socialist-Revolutionaries), with the capitalists using 
obstruction and wrecking tactics, and doing nothing to ship 
their products, without which the country is facing ruin. 

Without coal, the factories and railways are coming 
to a stand. Unemployment is spreading. There is a shortage 
of goods. The peasants cannot part with their grain without 
getting anything in return. Famine is imminent. 

And all this because of the capitalists, who are in collusion 
with the government! 

And all this is tolerated by the Narodniks, the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, and the Mensheviks! They dismiss the 
matter with phrases. They wrote about these crimes of the 
capitalists on May 14. It is now May 31. Over a fortnight has 
passed. But nothing has changed. Famine is steadily ap- 
proaching. 

To cover up the crimes of the capitalists and distract 
the attention of the people, all the capitalist newspapers — 
Rech, Dyen, Novoye Vremya, Russkaya Volya, Birzheviye 
Vedomosti and Yedinstvo — vie with each other in daily 
emptying their slop pails of lies and calumny over the Bolshe- 
viks. The Bolsheviks are to blame for the colliery owners 
acting in collusion with the government, for their stopping 
and wrecking production! 

This would indeed resemble a madhouse, were it not 
for the theory and world-wide experience of the class 
struggle which have shown us that the capitalists and their 
government (supported by the Mensheviks) will stop at 
nothing when it comes to safeguarding their profits. 

When is this going to stop? Must we wait until disaster 
sweeps the land, and people begin to die of starvation by 
the hundred and the thousand? 



Pravda No. 69, 
June 13 (May 31), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



552 



LETTER TO THE DISTRICT COMMITTEES 
OF THE PETROGRAD ORGANISATION 
OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 
(BOLSHEVIKS) 

Dear comrades, 

I enclose a resolution of the Petrograd Committee con- 
cerning the establishment of a paper of its own, and two 
resolutions introduced by me on behalf of the Central 
Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party 
at a meeting of the P.C. held on Tuesday, May 30.* Will 
you please discuss these three resolutions and give us your 
well-considered opinion on them in the fullest possible 
detail. 

On the question as to whether a separate paper for the 
Petrograd organisation is needed or not, the P.C. and the C.C. 
hold conflicting views. It is essential and desirable that the 
greatest possible number of Party members in Petrograd 
should take an active part in the discussion of this growing 
conflict and help, by their decision, to settle it. 

The Executive of the P.C. has expressed itself unanimous- 
ly in favour of a separate press organ for the Petrograd 
Committee, despite the C.C.'s decision to establish two 
newspapers in place of Pravda, the size of which is obviously 
inadequate. These two papers are: the old Pravda, as the 
Party's Central Organ, and a small Narodnaya Pravda (the 
names of the two papers have not yet been definitely decided 



See p. 545 of this volume. — Ed. 



LETTER TO THE DISTRICT COMMITTEES 



553 



upon), as a popular organ for the masses. The two papers, 
according to the decision of the C.C., are to have a single edi- 
torial board, and the P.C. is to have a representative on each 
paper (one with a consultative voice on the Central Organ, 
and a voting representative on the popular organ). A Press 
Committee is to be set up (consisting of workers from the 
districts who are in close touch with the masses) and a 
definite number of columns in both papers are to be set aside 
for the needs of the local labour movement. 
That is the plan of the C.C. 

The Executive of the P.C, on the other hand, wants a 
special paper of its own. The Executive has decided upon 
this unanimously. 

At the meeting of the P.C. held on May 30, after the 
report by Comrade M. Tomsky and his speech winding up the 
debate, after my own speech and the discussion in which many 
comrades participated, there was an equal division of 
votes — fourteen in favour of the Executive and fourteen 
against it. My motion was rejected by sixteen votes to 
twelve. 

My own view is that there is no fundamental need for a 
special organ of the P.C. In view of the capital's leading role 
and country-wide influence, only one organ of the Party is 
needed there, namely, the Central Organ, and a popular pa- 
per to be put out in a specially popular form by the same 
editorial board. 

A special organ of the P.C. is bound to create obstacles 
towards harmonious work and may even give rise to differ- 
ent lines (or shadings) of policy, which would be extremely 
harmful, especially at a time of revolution. 

Why should we split up our forces? 

We are all terribly overworked and have few people to 
do the work; the party writers are siding more and more 
with the defencists. Under the circumstances we cannot afford 
any dispersion of efforts. 

We must concentrate our efforts, not disperse them. 

Are there any grounds for mistrusting the C.C, for believ- 
ing that it will not select the editorial board properly, or 
not give sufficient space in both papers to local activities, 
or that it will "bully" the P.C.'s editors, who will be in the 
minority, and so on? 



554 



V. I. LENIN 



In my second draft resolution I specially listed some of 
these arguments (which I heard mentioned at the P.C. meet- 
ing on May 30) in order to put the issue frankly before 
all members of the Party so as to make them weigh each of 
the two arguments carefully and arrive at a well-considered 
decision. 

If you, comrades, have weighty and serious reasons 
for not trusting the C.C., then say so openly. It is the duty 
of every member of our democratically organised Party 
to do so, and then it would be the duty of our Party's C.C. 
to give special consideration to this distrust of yours, 
report it to the Party congress and enter into special negotia- 
tions with a view to overcoming this deplorable lack of 
confidence in the C.C. on the part of the local organi- 
sation. 

If there is no such lack of confidence, then it is unfair and 
wrong to challenge the C.C.'s right, vested in it by the Party 
congress, to direct the activities of the Party in general and 
its activities in the capital in particular. 

Is our C.C. asking too much in wanting to direct the Pet- 
rograd papers? It is not. In the German Social-Democratic 
Party, in its best days, when Wilhelm Liebknecht stood at 
the head of the party for scores of years, he was the editor 
of the party's Central Organ. The CO. was published 
in Berlin. The Berlin organisation never had a special 
Berlin paper of its own. There was a Press Committee 
of workers, and there was a local section in the party's 
Central Organ. Why should we depart from this good 
example which our comrades in other countries have 
set us? 

If you, comrades, desire special guarantees from the C.C, 
if you want changes made in one or another point of the C.C.'s 
plan for the establishment of two papers, I would ask you on 
behalf of the C.C. to carefully consider the matter and 
present your views. 

I believe that the decision of the P.C.'s Executive to es- 
tablish a special newspaper in Petrograd is utterly wrong 
and undesirable, because it splits up our forces and intro- 
duces into our Party the elements of conflict. In my opinion — 
and on this point I merely voice the view of the C.C. — it is 
desirable that the Petrograd organisation should support the 



LETTER TO THE DISTRICT COMMITTEES 



555 



decision of the C.C., give itself time to check results from the 
experience of the two papers working according to the C.C.'s 
plan, and then, if need be, pass a special decision on the 
results of that experiment. 

With comradely Social-Democratic greetings, 



May 31, 1917 



N. Lenin 



First published in 1925 
in the journal Krasnaya 
Letopis No. 3 (14) 



Published according 
to the text 
of the typewritten copy 



556 



SPEECH MADE AT THE FIRST PETROGRAD 
CONFERENCE OF SHOP COMMITTEES 
MAY 31 (JUNE 13), 1917 

BRIEF NEWSPAPER REPORT 

Comrade Avilov's resolution shows a complete disregard 
for the class stand. B. V. Avilov would seem to have made 
up his mind in this resolution to collect together and concen- 
trate all the faults common to all the resolutions of the petty- 
bourgeois parties. 

Avilov's resolution starts with the postulate, by now 
indisputable to any socialist, that capitalism's robber 
economy has reduced Russia to complete economic and in- 
dustrial ruin, but then goes on to propose the hazy formula 
of control of industry by "the state authorities" with the 
co-operation of the broad democratic mass. 

Everybody nowadays is having a good deal to say about 
control. Even people who used to scream "murder" at the 
very mention of the word "control" now admit that control 
is necessary. 

By using the term "control" in the abstract, however, they 
want to reduce the idea of control to naught. 

The coalition government, which "socialists" have now 
joined, has done nothing yet in the way of putting this con- 
trol into effect, and therefore it is quite understandable that 
the shop committees are demanding real workers' control, 
and not control on paper. 

In dealing with the idea of control and the question 
of when and by whom this control is to be effected, one must 
not for a single moment forget the class character of the 
modern state, which is merely an organisation of class rule. 



SPEECH AT CONFERENCE OF SHOP COMMITTEES 



557 



A similar class analysis should be applied to the concept 
"revolutionary democracy", and this analysis should be 
based on the actual balance of social forces. 

Avilov's resolution starts with a promise to give every- 
thing, but ends, in effect, with a proposition to leave every- 
thing as it was. There is not a shadow of revolutionism in 
the whole resolution. 

In revolutionary times of all times it is necessary accu- 
rately to analyse the question as to the very essence of the 
state, as to whose interests it shall protect, and as to how 
it should be constructed in order effectively to protect the 
interests of the working people. In Avilov's resolution this 
has not been dealt with at all. 

Why is it that our new coalition government, which "so- 
cialists" have now joined, has not carried out control in 
the course of three months, and, what is more, in the 
conflict between the colliery owners and the workers of 
Southern Russia, the government has openly sided with the 
capitalists? 

For control over industry to be effectively carried out 
it must be a workers' control with a workers' majority in all 
the leading bodies, and the management must give an 
account of its actions to all the authoritative workers' 
organisations. 

Comrades, workers, see that you get real control, not 
fictitious control, and reject in the most resolute manner 
all resolutions and proposals for establishing such a ficti- 
tious control existing only on paper. 



Pravda No. 72, 
June 16 (3), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



558 



INFAMY JUSTIFIED 

The International Relations Department of the Executive 
Committee of the Petrograd Soviet has sent a letter to Huys- 
mans, well-known as Secretary of the bankrupt Second In- 
ternational, whose members went over to the side of "their" 
national governments. 

This letter, published in issue No. 78 of Izvestia, tries to 
prove that the Russian Narodniks and Mensheviks, who 
joined the bourgeois and imperialist government, cannot 
be "compared" to the West-European betrayers of social- 
ism, who joined "their" governments. The "Department's" 
case is so feeble and pitiful, so ludicrously impotent that it 
needs to be shown up again and again in all its unsightly 
futility. 

Argument 1. In other countries these people joined 
the government "under entirely different conditions". This 
is not true. The difference between Britain, France, Den- 
mark, Belgium, Italy, etc., on the one hand, and present- 
day Russia, on the other, is "entirely" negligible. Everyone 
who has not betrayed socialism knows that the question 
at issue is the class rule of the bourgeoisie. In this respect 
conditions in all the countries mentioned above are the same, 
and not "different". National peculiarities do not in the least 
affect the basic issue of bourgeois class rule. 

Argument 2. "Our" ministers have joined a "revolutionary" 
government. This is a disgraceful method of hoodwinking 
the people by means of the great word "revolution", which 
the Mensheviks and Narodniks use to cover up their betrayal 
of it. Everyone knows that ten of the sixteen ministers 
in today's "revolutionary" government belong to the parties 
of the landowners and capitalists, who stand for the imperial- 



INFAMY JUSTIFIED 



559 



ist war and non-publication of the secret treaties, and that 
these parties are now pursuing a counter-revolutionary 
policy. This was clearly demonstrated by the elections to the 
District Councils of Petrograd on May 27-29, when all the 
Black-Hundred elements rallied to support the majority in 
our "revolutionary" government. 

Argument 3. "Our" ministers joined "with a definite man- 
date to achieve world peace by agreement among the nations 
and not to drag out the imperialist war for the sake of 
liberating the nations by force of arms". For one thing, this 
mandate is not "definite" at all, since it implies neither a 
definite programme nor any definite action. These are mere 
words. It is like the secretary of a labour union becoming 
an executive member of a capitalist association at a salary of 
10,000 rubles "with a definite mandate" to work for the wel- 
fare of labour and not drag out the rule of capitalism. 
Second, all imperialists, including Wilhelm and Poincare, 
are out for "an agreement among the nations". This, too, is 
an empty phrase. Third, the war on Russia's part, since 
May 6, 1917, is obviously being "dragged out", among other 
reasons, because our imperialist government has so far failed 
to announce or propose clear and precise terms of peace, 
terms of an agreement. 

Argument 4. "Our" ministers' aim "is not cessation of the 
class struggle, but its continuation by means of the instru- 
ments of political power". Splendid! All you need to do is to 
cloak vileness with a good aim or a good excuse for participa- 
tion in vileness — and the trick is done! Participation in a 
bourgeois imperialist government, which is actually waging 
an imperialist war, may, it appears, be called "continuation 
of the class struggle by means of instruments of political 
power". This is a perfect gem. We suggest that at every work- 
ers' and public meeting three cheers should be raised for 
Chernov, Tsereteli, Peshekhonov and Skobelev, who are 
waging "a class struggle" against Tereshchenko, Lvov 
and Co. 

You will be laughed to scorn, gentlemen of the "Depart- 
ment", for defending ministerialism with such arguments. 
You are not original, though. The famous Vandervelde, 
friend of Plekhanov (whom you scold, although, since you 
have joined the cabinet, you have no moral right to do so), 



560 



V. I. LENIN 



said long ago that he, too, had joined the cabinet "to con- 
tinue the class struggle". 

Argument 5. "Our" ministers joined the cabinet after the 
overthrow of tsarism and the expulsion of "the enemies of 
the Russian proletariat [i.e., Milyukov and Guchkov] by 
the movement of the revolutionary mass on April 20-21". 

You can hardly blame the French for having overthrown 
their autocracy 122 years ago, instead of 100 days ago, or 
the English for having done it over 260 years ago, or the 
Italians for having done it decades ago. April 20 saw Milyu- 
kov ejected and replaced by Tereshchenko, i.e., absolutely 
nothing has changed as far as class or party relations are 
concerned. New promises do not imply a new policy. 

You could dismiss the Metropolitan and put the Pope 
in his place, but that does not mean you would cease to 
be a clerical. 

Argument 6. In Russia "there is full freedom for the prole- 
tariat and the army". That is untrue — it is not full. It is 
fuller than in other countries, and all the more shameful 
therefore is it to soil this young unsullied freedom with 
the dirt of participation in a bourgeois imperialist govern- 
ment. 

The Russian betrayers of socialism differ from their 
European namesakes no more than the rapist differs from the 
ravisher. 

Argument 7. "Moreover the Russian proletariat has 
the means of exercising complete control over those it elects." 

That is untrue. Partyism in Russia is so young and disin- 
tegration among the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolution- 
aries is so evident (Martov's semi-breakaway, Kamkov's pro- 
tests and his forming a bloc with us at the elections against 
his own party, the Menshevik-S.R. bloc with Yedinstvo, 
which they themselves call imperialist, etc.) that there can 
be no question of any serious, not to say "complete", control 
of the ministers on the part of the proletariat. 

Besides, proletariat is a class concept, which the Menshe- 
viks and Narodniks have no right to use, because they 
rely mostly on the support of the petty bourgeoisie. Once 
you speak of classes, be precise! 

Argument 8. "The fact that representatives of the Russian 
socialist [?] proletariat [?] have joined the government does 



INFAMY JUSTIFIED 



561 



not imply any weakening of its bonds with the socialists 
of all countries who are fighting against imperialism. On 
the contrary, it signifies a strengthening of those bonds in 
the joint struggle for world peace." 
That is untrue. A mere phrase. 

Everyone knows that their joining the government in 
Russia has strengthened the bonds that unite the adherents 
of imperialism, the social-chauvinists, the social-imperialists 
of all countries — Henderson and Co., Thomas and Co., 
Scheidemann and Co. 

Yes, Scheidemann, tool For he realises that German social- 
imperialism will be safe to continue exercising its baneful 
influence on the world's labour movement, since even the 
Russians, their great measure of freedom and their revolu- 
tion notwithstanding, have entered into a shameful alliance 
with their imperialist bourgeoisie. 

Pravda No. 70, Published according 



June 14 (1), 1917 




562 



THE PETTY-BOURGEOIS STAND ON THE QUESTION 
OF ECONOMIC DISORGANISATION 

Novaya Zhizn today publishes a resolution introduced 
by Comrade Avilov at a meeting of shop committees. Unfor- 
tunately, this resolution must be regarded as an example of a 
petty-bourgeois attitude that is neither Marxist nor social- 
ist. Because this resolution accentuates in sharp focus all 
the weaknesses peculiar to the Menshevik and Narodnik 
Soviet resolutions, it is typical and worthy of attention. 

The resolution begins with an excellent general statement, 
with a splendid indictment of the capitalists: "The present 
economic debacle ... is a result of the war and the predatory 
anarchic rule of the capitalists and the government." Correct! 
That capital is oppressive, that it is a predator, that it is 
the original source of anarchy — in this the petty bourgeois is 
ready to agree with the proletariat. But there the similarity 
ends. The proletarian regards capitalist economy as a robber 
economy, and therefore wages a class struggle against it, 
shapes his whole policy on unconditional distrust of the 
capitalist class, and in dealing with the question of the state 
his first concern is to distinguish which class the "state" 
serves, whose class interests it stands for. The petty bour- 
geois, at times, gets "furious" with capital, but as soon as the 
fit of anger is over he goes back to his old faith in the capi- 
talists, to the hopes placed in the "state" ... of the capitalists! 

The same thing has happened with Comrade Avilov. 

After a splendid, strongly worded, formidable introduc- 
tion accusing the capitalists and even the government of 
the capitalists of running a "robber" economy, Comrade 
Avilov, throughout his resolution, in all its concrete sub- 



PETTY-BOURGEOIS STAND ON DISORGANISATION 563 



stance and all its practical proposals, forgets the class stand- 
point, and, like the Mensheviks and Narodniks, lapses into 
bombast about the "state" in general, about "revolutionary 
democracy" in the abstract. 

Workers! Predatory capital is creating anarchy and eco- 
nomic chaos, and the government of the capitalists, too, is 
ruling by anarchy. Salvation lies in control on the part of "the 
state with the co-operation of revolutionary democracy". 
This is the substance of Avilov's resolution. 

What are you talking about, Comrade Avilov! How 
can a Marxist forget that the state is an organ of class rule? 
Is it not ridiculous to appeal to a capitalist state to take 
action against "predatory capitalists"? 

How can a Marxist forget that in the history of all coun- 
tries the capitalists, too, have often been "revolutionary 
democrats", as in England in 1649, in France in 1789, in 
1830, 1848, and 1870, and in Russia in February 1917? 

Can you have forgotten that the revolutionary democracy 
of the capitalists, of the petty bourgeoisie and of the prole- 
tariat must be distinguished one from the other? Does not 
the whole history of all the revolutions I have just mentioned 
show a distinction of classes within "revolutionary democ- 
racy I 

To continue in Russia to speak of "revolutionary democ- 
racy" in general after the experience of February, March, April 
and May 1917 is to deceive the people knowingly or unknow- 
ingly, consciously or unconsciously. The "moment" of general 
fusion of classes against tsarism has come and gone. The 
very first agreement between the first "Provisional Commit- 
tee" of the Duma and the Soviet marked the end of the class 
fusion and the beginning of the class struggle. 

The April crisis (April 20), followed by that of May 6, 
then May 27-29 (the elections), etc., etc., have brought about 
a definite cleavage of classes in the Russian revolution within 
the Russian "revolutionary democracy". To ignore this is 
to sink to the helpless level of the petty bourgeois. 

To appeal now to the "state" and to "revolutionary democ- 
racy" on the matter of predatory capitalism of all questions, 
is to drag the working class backward. In effect it means 
preaching complete stoppage of the revolution. For our "state" 
today, after April, after May, is a state of "predator" capital- 



564 



V. I. LENIN 



ists, who, in the persons of Chernov, Tsereteli and Co., 
have tamed a fairly considerable portion of "revolutionary 
(petty-bourgeois) democracy". 

This state is hindering the revolution everywhere, in 
all fields of home and foreign policy. 

To hand over to this state the job of fighting the capitalist 
"predators" is like throwing the pike into the river* 

Written May 31 (June 13), 1917 

Published June 14 (1), 1917 Published according 

in Pravda No. 70 to the newspaper text 



* The offending pike, in Krylov's fable, was sentenced to be 
drowned by being thrown into the river. — Ed. 



565 



A MOTE IN THE EYE 

Algeria let them down Our ministeriable "Socialist- 
Revolutionaries" had almost succeeded in stunning the pub- 
lic — and themselves — into believing all their talk about 
"peace without annexations", but ... Algeria let them down. 
Dyelo Naroda, a newspaper to which two Socialist-Revolution- 
ary ministers, Kerensky and Chernov, contribute, was ... 
incautious enough to invite the views of three Allied cabinet 
ministers (belonging to the same near-socialist camp) on 
Algeria. How terribly careless this was on the part of the 
newspaper of the Kerenskys and Chernovs will be seen from 
the following. 

The three Allied ministers — Henderson, Thomas and 
Vandervelde of Britain, France and Belgium, stated that 
they did not want "annexation", but only "liberation of 
territories". The paper of the Kerenskys and Chernovs 
described this — quite rightly — as a "sleight of hand" on 
the part of the "tamed-socialists", and poured out on them 
the following angry and sarcastic tirade: 

'"True, they [the three ministers] demand the liberation of territo- 
ries' only 'in conformity with the will of the population'. Very well! 
But in that case we ought to demand that they, and we, be consistent 
and recognise the 'liberation' of Ireland and Finland on the one hand, 
and Algeria or Siam on the other. It would be very interesting to hear 
the opinion of, say, the socialist Albert Thomas on 'self-determina- 
tion' for Algeria." 

Indeed, "it would be very interesting to bear the opinion" 
also of Kerensky, Tsereteli, Chernov and Skobelev on "self- 
determination" for Armenia, Galicia, Ukraine, and Tur- 
kestan. 

Don't you see, you Narodnik and Menshevik members of 
the Russian Government, that by citing the example of 



566 



V. I. LENIN 



Ireland and Algeria you have exposed the whole lie and 
falsity of your own position and behaviour. You have shown 
that "annexation" cannot be interpreted merely as the 
seizure of territory in this war. In other words, you have 
refuted yourselves and Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet 
which only the other day declared with proud ignorance that 
the term annexation could be applied only to territories 
seized in the present war. But who does not know that Ireland 
and Algeria were annexed decades and centuries before the 
outbreak of this war? 

Careless, very careless of Dyelo Naroda\ It has exposed its 
utter confusion of ideas, and that of the Mensheviks and Izves- 
tia, on such a key issue as annexations. 

Nor is that all. You question Henderson about Ireland, and 
Albert Thomas about Algeria; you contrast the views 
on annexation of the "French bourgeoisie now in power" 
with the views of the French people; you call Henderson and 
Albert Thomas "tamed socialists" — but what about your- 
selves? 

What are you, Kerensky, Tsereteli, Chernov, Skobelev, 
if not "tamed socialists"? Did you raise the question of the 
Russian Ireland and the Russian Algeria, i.e., of Turkestan, 
Armenia, Ukraine, Finland, etc., before the government of 
the "Russian bourgeoisie now in power"? When did you raise 
this question? Why don't you tell the Russian "people" about 
it? Why don't you qualify as "sleight of hand" the Russian 
Narodniks' and Mensheviks' blether about "peace without 
annexations" in the Soviet, in the government and before the 
people, without raising, clearly and unambiguously, the 
question of all Russian annexations of the same type as 
Ireland and Algeria? 

The Russian ministeriable Narodniks and Mensheviks are 
in a hopeless muddle; every passing day adds to their self- 
exposure. 

Their "final" stock argument is that we are having a revo- 
lution. But that argument is false from beginning to end. 
For our revolution so far has only brought the bourgeoisie 
to power, and in France and Britain, with a "harmless minori- 
ty" of "tamed socialists", as in France and Britain. What our 
revolution will produce tomorrow — whether a return to the 
monarchy, the strengthening of the bourgeoisie, or the trans- 



A MOTE IN THE EYE 



567 



fer of power to more advanced classes — neither we nor anyone 
else knows. Consequently, the plea of "revolution" in gen- 
eral is a gross deception of the people and of oneself. 

The annexation issue is a good touchstone for the Narod- 
niks and Mensheviks, who are entangled in a web of lies. 
They are just as muddled as Plekhanov, Henderson, Schei- 
demann and Co.; they are distinguishable from each other 
only in words, for as far as deeds are concerned they are all 
alike — dead to socialism. 



Pravda No. 70, 
June 14 (1), 1917 



Published according 
to the text in Pravda 



568 



IT IS UNDEMOCRATIC, CITIZEN KERENSKY! 

The Petrograd Telegraph Agency reports: 

"Kiev, May 30. A telegram from War Minister Kerensky read at 
the All-Ukraine Peasant Congress stated that for military reasons the 
convocation of the second Ukrainian army congress was considered 
untimely. The Congress held the Minister's order to be an infringement 
of the Ukrainians' right of assembly and sent the following telegram 
to the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' 
and Soldiers' Deputies: 

"'We call your attention to this first case of infringement of the 
right of assembly on the part of Minister Kerensky in respect of the 
Ukrainian army congress. We decline all responsibility for the pos- 
sible consequences of this infringement of democratic principles of the 
new life in respect of the Ukrainians. We lodge an emphatic protest 
and await the Provisional Government's immediate reply to the de- 
mands submitted by the delegation of the Ukrainian Central Rada.'" 

This report will undoubtedly cause great concern among the 
socialist workers. 

The War Minister deems the congress of Ukrainians "un- 
timely" and uses his power to ban it! Not so long ago citizen 
Kerensky tried to bring Finland to heel, and now he has 
decided to bring the Ukrainians to heel. And all this is done 
in the name of "democracy"! 

A. I. Herzen once said that when you look at the antics 
of Russia's ruling classes you feel ashamed of being a Rus- 
sian. 128 This was said at a time when Russia was groaning 
under the yoke of serfdom, when the land was ruled by the 
knout and the rod. 

Today Russia has overthrown the tsar. Today the Keren- 
skys and the Lvovs speak in the name of Russia. Russia of the 
Kerenskys and Lvovs treats her subject nations in such a 
way that one cannot help recalling these bitter words of 
Herzen's. 



IT IS UNDEMOCRATIC, CITIZEN KERENSKY! 



569 



We say nothing of the fact that by his "dominant-nation" 
policy Citizen Kerensky is merely augmenting and bolster- 
ing the very tendencies towards "separatism" which the 
Kerenskys and the Lvovs are trying to smother. 

We ask: Is suc